Indian Chinese Cultural

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This section analyses the responses of the Indian and the Chinese firms collected through the questionnaires. It primarily highlights their cultural awareness levels while dealing with each other, which later extends to their views about the methods to overcome the cross-cultural differences.

4.1 Country Wise Division of the Respondents

As mentioned earlier, this study obtains the information by sending the questionnaires to the Indian and the Chinese firms who deal with each other. Questionnaires were sent to the Indian firms operating in China and the Chinese firms operating in China (that deal with the Indian firms). The following table indicates the breakup of the respondents:

Table 2: Breakup of the Respondents

Firms

Number

Indian

17

Chinese

14

Total

31

Thus, the responses constituted of 54.83% Indian firms and 45.17% of Chinese firms. Since, there is a little participation of the firms in the research, the responses obtained from these firms are specific to this research and therefore do not represent the whole population.

It should be noted that the term ‘Indian firms’ will be used to denote Indian firms operating in China. Similarly, the term ‘Chinese firms’ will be used to denote Chinese firms operating in China (that deal with the Indian firms).

4.2 Country Wise Division of the Firms according to their Business Sector

Table 3: INDIAN FIRMS

Business Sector

Number of Firms

Information Technology (Software)

5

Steel (Manufacturing)

4

Pharmaceuticals

4

Banking

2

India-China Economic Cultural Council

1

Expert Knowledge Services

1

Total

17

Table 4: CHINESE FIRMS

Business Sector

Number of Firms

Exporters (Bauxite, Coal)

5

Importers (Iron Ore, Manganese Ore)

4

Automobile (Manufacturing)

2

Shipping Services

2

Overseas Investment

1

Total

14

As mentioned earlier that the large sized firms are selected for this research, the above tables indicate the same. The Table 3 indicates the businesses of the Indian firms operating in China and Table 4 indicates the Chinese firms operating in China.

4.3 Age and the Designation of the Respondents

Table 5:

Age Group

Indian Respondents

Chinese Respondents

Total

20-30

Nil

7

7

31-40

10

4

14

41-50

6

1

7

51-60

1

2

3

Total

17

14

31

The above table shows the age of the Indian and the Chinese respondents. It is important to note that most of the Indian respondents belong to the age group of 31-40 and maximum of the Chinese respondents belong to the category of 20-30. But the respondents of both the countries share the similarities in the rank they hold in their companies i.e. major of the respondents are CEO’s, Marketing managers and Business development managers. Thus, the higher rank and age indicates their experience and awareness of cultural differences in dealing with each other which finally leads to make the right assumptions. Also, it can be said that generally Indian managers attain the higher after the age of 30 and the Chinese managers attain the same status after the age of 20, which can again be treated as a cultural difference.

4.4 Frequency of the Business Dealings

Responses by the Indian Firms Responses by the Chinese Firms

Figure 1Figure 2

The information about the frequency of the dealings between the firms, served as the basis for the whole questionnaire. This is again vital to identify so as to reach to the appropriate conclusions i.e. higher the regularity of the dealings, greater the encounter with the cross-cultural barriers.

From the above 2 figures, it can be deduced that on an average both Indian and the Chinese firms deal 6 to 10 times a month with each other and some times even more than 11 which serves to be a considerable number of dealings. This leads to make the assumption that the firms must be aware of the difficulties while they deal with each other and they also might be aware of the cross-cultural differences prevailing between them. The following section analyses the responses of the firms.

4.5 Indian firms agree that they are aware of the cross-cultural differences while dealing

with the Chinese firms.

Table 6: Table 7:

Responses by the Indian Firms Responses by the Chinese Firms

Scale

% of Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

Disagree

-

Neither Agree nor Disagree

17%

Agree

66%

Strongly Agree

17%

Scale

% of Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

Disagree

-

Neither Agree nor Disagree

64%

Agree

36%

Strongly Agree

-

The above tables indicate the cross-cultural awareness level of the Indian firms while dealing with the Chinese firms. Table 6 shows the responses of the Indian firms and Table 7 indicates the views of the Chinese respondents about the Indian firms i.e. the extent to which they agree that Indian firms are aware of the cultural differences while dealing with them.

From the Table 6, it is clear that the major of the Indian respondents claim to be aware of the cultural differences while dealing with the Chinese firms. However, this statement does not hold true in the view of the Chinese respondents, as only 36% of them agree with the same. The responses of the Chinese firms are essential so as to avoid partiality in the final results. Hence, the following inference can be made:

Inference 1: The comparison of the responses of both the firms reveals that Indian firms are not always aware of the cultural differences while dealing with the Chinese firms.

4.5.1 Chinese firms also agree that they are aware of the cross - cultural differences while dealing with the Indian firms.

Table 8:Table 9:

Responses by the Chinese Firms Responses by the Indian Firms

Scale

% of Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

Disagree

7%

Neither Agree nor Disagree

29%

Agree

43%

Strongly Agree

21%

Scale

% of Firms

Strongly Disagree

6%

Disagree

6%

Neither Agree nor Disagree

42%

Agree

29%

Strongly Agree

17%

Like the Indian firms, Chinese firms were also asked to present their responses on their cultural awareness levels. Their responses revealed that they too are aware of the cultural differences while dealing with the Indian firms.

Table 8 shows the responses of the Chinese firms and Table 9 indicates the views of the Indian respondents about the Chinese firms i.e. the extent to which they agree that Chinese firms are aware of the cultural differences while dealing with them.

The table 8 is self explanatory of the fact that major of the Chinese respondents also claim to be aware of the cultural differences while dealing with the Indian firms. As mentioned earlier, that views of both the firms are considered in order to avoid partiality, the responses of the Indian firms cannot be ignored for the same reason.

Though, the comparison made between both the firms reveals that cultural awareness level of Chinese firms is slight better than the Indian firms, it would be unfair to agree that Chinese firms are culturally aware to a large extent. Thus, the following inference can be made:

Inference 2: The cultural awareness level of the Chinese firms is slight better than the Indian firms, they are also not very much aware of the cultural differences when dealing with the Indian firms.

4.5.2 On the whole, the cross - cultural awareness level of the Indian as well as the Chinese firms is neither too high nor too low

From the above two inferences, it is clear that a wide variation pertains in the cultural awareness levels of the Indian and the Chinese firms as the perception of the respondents are varied. Indian firms observe that they are aware of the cultural difference which is not very much agreed by the Chinese firms while the Chinese firms are also not very well aware of the cultural differences. Thus, it can be concluded that the firms are neither fully aware nor entirely unaware of these differences, but steps should be taken to enhance the same.

4.6 To be successful in China, it is important to be aware of the cultural differences

Table 10:

Scale

% of Indian Firms

% of Chinese Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

-

Disagree

-

-

Neither Agree nor Disagree

11%

-

Agree

29%

64%

Strongly Agree

60%

36%

As stated earlier, that the questionnaires were sent to the firms operating in China, the Indian and the Chinese firms were asked to provide their views about successfully working in China. The following can be analysed from their responses:

Responses from the Indian firms revealed that major respondents indicated their strong agreement towards the above statement. This indicates for an Indian firm, to be successful in China requires being aware of the cultural differences.

Responses from the Chinese firms revealed that a major 64% of the respondents also agreed on being culturally affluent for functioning effectively in China. This is indicative of the fact that any international firm requires to be culturally aware when working in China.

The above discussion also supports the literature in Chapter 2 that to be successful in any country a firm requires being culturally aware of the differences.

Also, 59% of the respondents from Indian firms and 57% of the Chinese firms consented that unawareness of these differences will lead to the negative outcomes, which again supports the theory. Thus, the following inferences can be made:

  • Cultural awareness will lead to the successful outcomes in China.
  • Unawareness of the cultural differences will lead to the negative results.

4.7 Negotiation as an Obstacle

Table 11:

Scale

% of Indian Firms

% of Chinese Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

-

Disagree

-

-

Neither Agree nor Disagree

47%

21%

Agree

24%

29%

Strongly Agree

29%

50%

The literature review holds that negotiation serves to be a big cultural difference between India and China and it is even regarded as a trouble for the Indian and the Chinese firms. The following responses analyses the same:

From the above table it is clear that the percentage of respondents who indicated their agreement and strong agreement are more than the people who neither agreed nor disagreed on the above statement. Thus, the following inference can be made:

Inference 1: Indian firms consider negotiation to be the main obstacle while dealing with the Chinese firms.

Like the Indian respondents, the percentage of the Chinese respondents who agreed and strongly agreed exceeded the number of people who neither agreed nor disagreed in regarding negotiation as a major problem. Also, the responses from the Chinese firms revealed that negotiation is more problematic for the Chinese firms than the Indian firms. Thus, it can be inferred that:

Inference 2: Negotiation is more problematic for the Chinese firms than the Indian firms.

Thus, from the above inferences it can be concluded that negotiation serves to be the main obstacle for the Indian as well as the Chinese firms. Hence, it also supports the theory that it also acts as a major cultural difference between both the countries.

4.8 Significance of the Verbal and Non-Verbal communication

Table 12:

Scale

Responses by the Chinese Firms

Responses by the Indian Firms

Strongly Disagree

7%

-

Disagree

21%

-

Neither Agree nor Disagree

21%

23%

Agree

44%

53%

Strongly Agree

7%

24%

The theory suggests that during the negotiation process Chinese rely more on the non-verbal communication (gestures, ‘Face’ etc.) and Indians prefer verbal form of communication. In the light of the theory, following is analysed:

From the above table it is apparent that 77% of the Indian respondents indicated their agreement and strong agreement that Chinese prefer non-verbal communication more than the verbal communication which has already been discussed in the literature review.

Responses by the Chinese firms about the Indian style of communication are quite surprising due to the mixed responses of the respondents. As it is evident from the above table that almost half of the respondents indicated their agreement and strong agreement with the above while the remaining 50% of the respondents belong to the other three categories. Thus, there seems to be a tie in the views of the Chinese respondents.

Hence, from the above discussion it can be deduced that generally non-verbal communication is preferred by the Chinese but the notion that Indians specifically rely on the verbal form of communication might be misleading.

4.9 Management Style: Another Cultural Difference

Table 13:

Scale

% of Indian Firms

% of Chinese Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

-

Disagree

-

-

Neither Agree nor Disagree

12%

36%

Agree

29%

21%

Strongly Agree

59%

43%

As one of the aims of this study is to identify the cultural differences between the India and China from the perspective of international business, this study identifies the differences in the negotiating behaviour and communication style, which has already been laid out in the literature review. To identify the further cultural differences, the opinion of the Indian and the Chinese firms was asked in the form of the closed question. From the above table it is clear that:

  • Overall 88% of the Indian respondents agree and strongly agree and considers management style as another cultural difference between them and the Chinese firms.
  • Similarly, the above statement is supported by the 64% of the Chinese respondents.

Thus, from the above it can be concluded that management style can be regarded as another cultural difference which should be taken care of to perform effectively and efficiently in India and China.

4.10 Overall, respondents never took the support of the cross-cultural training programmes

Table 14:

Scale

% of Indian Firms

% of Chinese Firms

Strongly Disagree

48%

-

Disagree

18%

43%

Neither Agree nor Disagree

12%

36%

Agree

24%

14%

Strongly Agree

-

7%

This statement fulfils the last research objective i.e. to identify the means to overcome the cross-cultural differences. As the questionnaire sent to the firms consisted of the closed questions, it restricted the respondents to freely answer to the questions. Moreover, the researcher’s limited knowledge about the topic led to consider only training programmes as a means to overcome the cultural differences and thus the responses are gathered by asking that whether the respondents have made use of the training programmes or not. This is analysed as under:

Firstly, attempt was made to spot the number of respondents who had resorted to the training programmes as a means to overcome the differences. From the above table it is evident that a major 66% of the Indian respondents denied of making use of the cross-cultural training programmes while only 24% of the respondents indicated their agreement with it.

Similarly, the responses by the Chinese respondents revealed that 43% of them never resorted to the cross-cultural training programmes whereas only 14% of the respondents indicated their agreement towards it.

Thus, it can be concluded that both Indian and Chinese firms rarely makes use of the cross-cultural training programmes as a means to overcome the cultural differences. In the beginning, it was found that the cultural awareness level of Indian and the Chinese firms were neither too high nor too low. Thus, the low cultural awareness levels can be attributed to the fact that respondents do not consider the training programmes as an essential element to overcome the cultural differences.

4.10.1 Cross-cultural training programmes are essential to perform effectively in China

Table 15:

Scale

% of Indian Firms

% of Chinese Firms

Strongly Disagree

-

-

Disagree

41%

21%

Neither Agree nor Disagree

24%

8%

Agree

-

50%

Strongly Agree

35%

21%

From the Table 14, it is apparent that a major proportion of the respondents have not resorted to the cross-cultural training programmes. To find out the reason for this, respondents were asked to state the importance of training programmes in effectively performing in China. The responses are analysed as under:

The responses by the Indian respondents were quite surprising as again a major 41% of the respondents indicated their disagreement of the need of training programmes in China while only 24% of the respondents recognised the importance of the training programmes.

On the contrary, it was found that more than 70% of the Chinese respondents considered training programmes as the most important element while operating in China. On the basis of the responses of the Chinese firms, it can be assumed that there are significant numbers of cultural differences which can be overcome after taking part in the training programmes.

Thus, from the above discussion, it can be deduced that, despite the fact of increasing international business between India and China, maximum of the Indian firms have still not recognised the significance of the cross-cultural training programmes in bridging the cultural gap between them and the Chinese firms.

Therefore, it can be concluded that these cultural differences can be minimized by resorting to the cross-cultural training programmes.

4.11 Some additional comments by the respondents

  • India and China have different cultures and both Chinese and Indians should be aware of it. Cross-cultural training will help in doing business more easily.
  • Indians do not trust Chinese people and makes the decisions without taking into account the local requirement and culture. This makes difficult for an Indian company to succeed in China while making strategic decisions.
  • An informal relation such as friendship is important and language still is a huge barrier in China.
  • Chinese people are very superstitious and thus following precautions should be taken while dealing with the Chinese:
  • The visiting card must be received and given by both of the hands, seen and thanks should be given.
  • Presenting a clock in China is regarded as a bad omen as it signifies death.
  • Number 4 is not liked.
  • Number 8 is liked most as it sounds same as the fortune word sounds.
  • Red colour is most liked and Black colour is most disliked.

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