Managerial Perspective Between India And China Cultural Studies Essay

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According to me, China and India are different to each other in many ways but and many Indians dont understand this. There in Chinese cities, no slum exists. Also no large scale beggar problems are there to tackle. In China, food and clothing, minimum housing is no longer problems for anybody, but India still has these problems. 

The things like color TV, computer, motorcycle, cell phones, refrigerators, air-conditioner..., these items any Chinese person can afford to buy, even the poorest man in China, even though the color TV sold in America, though very cheap already, still doubles its price in China, and usually one generation behind Chinese market. Every Chinese family has a fixed line phone, not to mention cell phones, which are a must even for people like garbage collectors and beggars. Car is no longer luxuries stuff anymore, most of population in China can afford to have, the brand new car from domestic manufacturer is sold for less than $5K. For most of the Indian population, these are still dreams. 

For modern China, the current social and economic problems are: 

Soaring housing prices in the residential areas. Not a house just with water, electricity and sewage system, but the decent ones like western style apartments. Everybody wants it so it drives the price up, due to the lack of the land resources. 

Now let us talk about the education structure of the two countries. In 15 years, Chinese college or university enrollment numbers increases from 1 million to 5 millions. These are marching toward 10 million student enrollment numbers at present. College education in China is no longer something only higher class of people can afford. But, point to be noted here is that the tuition fee is also really shooting up. Since graduate education is commercialized, it's the main cause of this rise. Many people complain because bulk of their income increase has to be spent there, they are not very happy with this. 

So the biggest problems for China are housing, low cost and effective education system, and Medicare and pension to old people. These are the society problems China has just started to experience, but many Indians haven't just realized these yet. 

Hence, we can conclude by saying that the two societies are at different levels at present. 


Management Style Followed In India

India is mostly a hierarchical society and arguably the most hierarchical in the world at this point of time and this has an impact on our management style. It is necessary to have a boss and in India the manager acts like a boss.

The Role of an Indian Manager

The role of a manager is very important in the Indian context. The role of manager demands mainly two things that is some amount of role-playing like a boss and at certain times co-ordination with his subordinates for proper team output As a .boss he/she is definitely not expected to perform any seemingly low-level tasks such moving chairs in a meeting room or making coffee for everybody. He/she has to act in a very responsible manner as to maintain a proper balance between the two.

It is necessary to have a boss and in India the manager acts like a boss.

Therefore, the boss is expected to give proper instructions which will be followed by his/her juniors - even if everybody knows well that the instruction is not correct. Managing people in India requires a level of micro-management or we can say that managing starts from low-level which many foreign business people feel extremely uncomfortable to dealt with but, which is likely to bring the best results in an organization.

Management Style followed in China

The Chinese style of management follows the Confucian philosophy. According to this philosophy, the older people are respected by their younger ones. In the Chinese management system as they follow this philosophy, they mean to say that in each and every organization the seniors are respected by their juniors as they are more experienced than the younger or less experienced workers. The senior managers give instructions to their direct juniors and this goes on in the whole organization religiously. The juniors have to report to their immediate seniors and are answerable to them only.

The senior managers give instructions to their direct juniors and this goes on in the whole organization religiously.

It should be kept in mind that many people in China, as well as in many other Asian countries, see the lack of following the hierarchical values. This is the root cause of the 'problems of the West.' These problems include things like generation-gap and the idea that an individual is more important than the group to which they belong, or we can say that the team is less important than

the individuals its made-up of.

Hence, in China, management style tends towards the directive, with the senior manager giving instructions to their juniors who in turn pass on the instructions down the line. It is not expected that subordinates will question the decisions of their seniors, it would anyhow show disrespect and be the direct cause of misconceptions between the two concerned.

The manager should be seen as a fatherly figure, who expects to receive loyalty and obedience from subordinates. In return, the manager is expected to take an overall interest in the well-being of his/her colleagues. It is mutually beneficial in a two-way relationship like this.

Business Structures

Business Structures in India

In many ways, business structures are a result of Indian society. Both are extremely hierarchical in nature, where people have an allotted position which they do not attempt to exchange and try out new things. 

People do not question either their position within an organization or the need of decisions taken.

Hence, companies tend to be run by one very strong individual, usually this is the case of family run businesses like that of Tata's or Ambani's or Birla's for that matter, who will issue direct instructions down the chain of action. Everybody expects that these instructions will be given in a fairly authorized manner and that they will be followed without asking any questions or asking its validity, by those further down that chain.

Thus, when doing business in India it usually necessary to connect with the top brass or as near to the top as possible. A great deal of time can be wasted dealing with middle management who may have very little impact on the final outcome.

Many multinational companies try to introduce a flatter structure to their Indian subsidiary in order to align it with other offices in the group. This may prove difficult in a country where hierarchy is unquestioningly accepted like that in China. It may not be impossible to take this approach but it is true that it requires a great deal of explanation, training and lot of patience for that matter of fact.

Business Structures in China

Under the Communist regime the most important structure to which an individual was linked was his/her work group. In the past, this work group guaranteed workers security throughout their lives. This work group was called as "Dan Wei". It can be extremely risky for a worker to leave the security of the Dan Wei as this means the automatic forfeit of the rights and privileges associated with the membership of it. These privileges and rights mean basics such as food, accommodation and medical assurance.

Probably the biggest benefit of this joint venture approach is that it helps the overseas companies to establish good and smooth relations.

Most overseas companies who set up operations in China do so in the form of a joint-venture with a Chinese organization and there certainly seem to be beneficial doing so. Probably the biggest benefit from the joint-venture approach is that it helps the overseas companies to establish good and smooth relations - via the Chinese part of the venture - into a complex network of Chinese relationships. Forming a joint-venture company would be the quickest and most effective way of developing good quality relationships in a country such as China.


Indian Style of Conducting Meetings

Meeting styles will be heavily dependent upon the type of organization with which you are engaged in business. Many of the emergent and highly successful hi-tech industries are actively pursuing western-style business methodology and this will result in meetings following familiar patterns with agendas, a chairperson and reasonable time keeping. More traditional Indian companies will, however, retain more local approaches to meetings and these may cause the international business traveler more concerns.

Unknown people enter the room and start to converse about other, disconnected issues.

Meetings with more traditional Indian organizations are likely to seem very informal with the possibility of interruptions where unknown people enter the room and start to converse about other, disconnected issues or where your contact breaks off to answer the phone. Do not show irritation should you find yourself in this situation - just accept it as part of the nature of life on the sub-continent.

As a heavily relationship-oriented society, meetings may initially evolve around seemingly non-business-focused discussions. This is an important part of the cycle of business and should not be rushed or dismissed as time wasting. Show that you are a person to be taken seriously by engaging in the necessary small talk. Only when you have convinced your contacts of your personal worthiness, is business likely to flow smoothly.

Gift Giving

Gift giving is an endemic part of life in India and it is thought that the gift giver is the one who should thank the receiver. (The gifts given during life being an aid to a better after-life.)

Gifts need not be large or expensive but should always be wrapped. Traditionally, gifts are wrapped and not opened in front of the giver. When wrapping gifts, avoid black or white paper which is considered unlucky.

Try to be thoughtful about the religious conventions and sensitivities of the receiver - do not give alcohol to a Muslim or beef to a Hindu.

Chinese Meetings

It is important to show respect to those to whom respect is due - this is one of the ways in which you can show yourself to be honorable and in turn worthy of respect. Respect should be shown to age, seniority, party membership, the history and traditions of China, political sensitivities, the company, the region....... the list is almost endless. Stand up when a senior person enters the room, offer the seat of honor and be attentive even if the key person's English is weak.

It is common to be involved in a series of meetings rather than one big meeting at which all major issues are disclosed and assessed.

Business cards are always exchanged on first meeting a new contact. Cards are held in both hands when exchanging and then scrutinized in detail. It is best to have your card printed in Chinese on the reverse and always offer it Chinese-side up. Treat the card with great respect as the card is the man.

Handshaking is the norm but a Chinese handshake will tend to be light and lingering. As it is considered impolite to look people straight in the eye, it is customary to look down, lowering the eyes as a mark of respect.

It is common to be involved in a series of meetings rather than one big meeting at which all major issues are disclosed and assessed. Meetings are about building relationships and exchanging information - it is rare for a decision to be made within the meeting. Decisions will be made elsewhere in consensus-style discussions, which involve all the relevant people (including possibly the Party.) As a result of this approach to meetings and their serial nature, patience is very definitely a virtue. Impatience will achieve nothing other than delaying things even more.

Gift Giving

Gift giving is endemic to Chinese culture and has been for thousands of years. The giving and receiving of gifts is part of the ritual of business relationship development - and in a country where relations are placed firmly before business, gifts are therefore an important business tool. A mere 'thank you' for a favor done is considered rude by the Chinese.

Avoid expensive gifts, as this could be mistaken for bribery (a serious criminal offence) and always wrap the gift. If visiting an organization, take one gift to present to the whole group. Gifts are often refused two or three times before being accepted and, if wrapped, rarely opened in front of the giver.


Indian Teams

Team working, as understood in the Anglo-Saxon world is alien to the Indian approach to business. A team expects to be given exact and complete instructions by the team-leader or boss and then to follow those instructions exactly. Team members would not be expected to query the instructions passed down to them and would expect to follow them even when it became apparent that things were going wrong. 

A team expects to be given exact and complete instructions by the team-leader.

Therefore, the team leader takes complete responsibility for the success or failure of a project and needs to be constantly on top of progress and looking out for problems. If anything goes awry, the team leader is expected to sort it out personally. Once again, micro-management is the key.

Chinese Teams

Despite being highly hierarchical in approach to structure and organizations, the Chinese remain consensus-oriented and it goes without saying that consensus players make good team members. The whole cultural emphasis is on group orientation with individual needs and desires being sublimated to the greater good of the whole. People belong to a number of groups but the ones with the strongest pull would be the family, the Dan Wei and the Party.

It would be unusual for an individual to act unilaterally without involving other members of the group.

One of the downsides (from a Western perspective) of this strong group orientation is a perceived lack of individual initiative. It would be unusual for an individual to act unilaterally without involving other members of the group. Standing out from the crowd can be viewed as very negative and result in personal difficulties.

Communication Styles

Indian Communication Styles

English is one of the fifteen official languages in India and is the only one which is universally spoken by the educated sections of society. English is deemed to be neutral and does not carry any of the regional connotations which cause so much friction in Indian political life. Therefore, many Indians speak excellent, almost perfect English and it would be unusual to meet any business person engaged in international trade who was unable to converse in the language.

When faced with disagreement, you are likely to encounter vagueness and lack of commitment.

As with many Asians, Indians find it very difficult to say no - feeling that to do so would be offensive and lead to difficult ongoing relationships. Thus, when faced with disagreement, you are likely to encounter vagueness and lack of commitment. Answers such as, 'We'll try' or 'Yes, but it may prove difficult' should be viewed with great suspicion and will probably mean 'No'. The danger is that you will be told what people think you want to hear, rather than any unpalatable truths. Do not attempt to force your Indian contacts to be more direct and forthright than they feel comfortable with otherwise you may frighten them away.

As Indians are highly family-oriented, do not be surprised if many meetings begin with questions about your family. Such small talk is considered to be highly civilized behavior and a good way to establish meaningful dialogue later in the proceedings. Do not be over-eager to move things onto an empirical business basis too quickly.

Chinese Communication Styles

Unless you speak Chinese, (Mandarin being the most common as well as the official dialect), it can be difficult to do business in many parts of China without the aid of a translator. English language levels are very patchy and although a layer of fluent English speakers exists, the layer is quite thin and levels fall away very quickly. Communicating in China can, therefore, be a slow, laborious activity and fraught with constant dangers in terms of misunderstanding and mistranslation. Don't assume comprehension. Cover the same ground several times and constantly check for understanding.

It is also difficult to deliver bad news and this is often done through the use of an intermediary.

One of the reasons that communication can be such a problem in China is that along with many other Asians, the Chinese find it extremely difficult to say 'no'. Saying 'no' causes both embarrassment and loss of face and it is therefore better to agree with things in a less than direct manner. Thus anything other than an unequivocal 'yes' probably means 'no'. Be very wary of phrases such as 'Yes but it might be difficult' and 'Yes, probably'.

It is also difficult to deliver bad news and this is often done through the use of an intermediary who can soften the blow and try to preserve as much good will within the relationship as possible.

The Chinese have a reputation for 'impassiveness' and this is largely based on Western misinterpretation of Chinese body language. As with the Japanese, the Chinese use a very limited amount of visual body language and Westerners interpret this rigidity as a lack of responsiveness and emotion. Lack of overt body language does not mean that the Chinese do not show their reactions - more that westerners are not skilled at reading it across the cultural divide.

Women in Business

Women in Business in India

Foreign women seem to have little difficulty being accepted in an Indian organisation. It would appear that the rank of an individual supersedes any notions of gender inequality which may be inherent in Indian society. If a woman has the position of manager, she must be there for a reason and her instructions will be followed just as diligently as those of a male manager.

It would appear that the rank of an individual supersedes any notions of gender inequality which may be inherent in Indian society.

It is important that women managers act at all times in a formal manner with male subordinates, as any overt signs of friendship or affection could be misconstrued.

Women in Business in China

Officially, women have the same rights as men in the workplace and the party has promoted this sense of equality over the past thirty years or so. However, traditional Confucian thinking does not sit easily with this notion of gender equality and it is somewhat ironic that the liberalization policies of the last decade might have reversed many of the advances made by women in Chinese society under the previous hard-line regimes.

The liberalization policies of the last decade might have reversed many of the advances made by women.

Foreign businesswomen will be treated with great respect and courtesy. They may find that, within a delegation, the Chinese defer to male colleagues regardless of the actual seniority of the western party - the Chinese assumption being that the male will naturally be the decision-maker.

Dress Code

Indian Dress Code

Men tend to wear smart, but comfortable and cool clothing. Any foreign businessman should wear a lightweight suit when visiting although ties are not compulsory except in more traditional sectors such as banking and the law.

Men tend to wear smart, but comfortable and cool clothing.

Women should wear conservative dresses or trouser suits. Clothing should not reveal too much skin - especially legs.

Try to avoid wearing leather clothing, as this could be offensive to Hindus who revere cows.

If travelling in the rainy season, make sure you have appropriate clothing and an umbrella.

Chinese Dress Code

One of the most visible changes to the human landscape of China over the past ten years has been the change in dress code. Gone is the standard unisex Mao jacket and trousers in blue or green and these have been replaced by a much more western style of dress - especially in the commercial and urban areas. Many men now wear suits and ties and women tend to wear skirts and blouses of a modest cut.

Many men now wear suits and ties and women tend to wear skirts and blouses of a modest cut.

It is advisable to have smart business attire with you when visiting. Be aware of the vagaries of the Chinese climate, which veer from sub-tropical to freezing and dress appropriately for the weather conditions.

Wealth is admired, so wear good quality clothes, watches etc. if you want to impress - but don't be overly ostentatious.



Tip 1

India is one of the most diverse countries in the world and therefore all generalisations about Indian culture should be treated with caution. Try to research each client thoroughly before entering into any negotiations. Is it a traditional, family-run business or a more modern hi-tech operation working with western business methodology?

Tip 2

India, more than most other countries, places great value on the quality of inter-personal relationships. Do not try to push things along too quickly in the early stages - take the time to develop relationships.

Tip 3

Both society and business are extremely hierarchically arranged and many Indians find it extremely difficult to work in a non-hierarchical structure.

Tip 4

Trying to introduce a flatter, more egalitarian approach into a society in which the caste system still flourishes can prove extremely difficult and painful for all concerned.

Tip 5

Most decisions are made at the top of an organisation and it can, therefore, be a waste of time and resource to spend too much time negotiating at the middle levels of a company if top level approval has not already been given.

Tip 6

The boss is definitely the boss in India and is expected to 'play the part.' Senior managers are not expected to engage in work which could be undertaken by somebody lower down the organisation.

Tip 7

Managers are expected to give direct and specific instructions to subordinates - and subordinates are expected to carry out the instructions unquestioningly.

Tip 8

Do not expect too much initiative from subordinates, contractors etc. Plan in great detail and explain exactly what needs to be done.

Tip 9

Meetings can seem very informal and it is possible for several meetings to be conducted by one person at the same time and in the same room. Try not to become irritated by this informal approach.

Tip 10

Time is fairly fluid. Be prepared for meetings to start and finish late and for interruptions to occur on a regular basis.


Tip 1

Guanxi, or personal relationships are of vital importance when doing business in China. Do not underestimate the importance of the relationship building process.

Tip 2

People are comfortable building relationships with honourable people who show respect to those to whom respect is due.

Tip 3

As all relationships are unequal it is important, if you wish to appear honourable, to show respect to age, seniority and educational background.

Tip 4

Managers tend to be directive, which reflects basic Confucian concepts of the hierarchical nature of society.

Tip 5

In return for loyalty, the boss is expected to show consideration and interest in all aspects of a subordinates' life.

Tip 6

There are often close relationships between senior management of a company and local party officials.

Tip 7

It is important that you do not make people 'lose face' in front of their group. Always respect seniority and do not openly disagree with people.

Tip 8

Do as many favours for people as possible - debts must always be repaid.

Tip 9

Business cards should be formally exchanged at the beginning of meetings. Treat the business card with great respect, as the card is the man.

Tip 10

Meetings are often long and seemingly without clear objectives. Very often the meeting is an exercise in relationship-building and the aim of the meeting is to move the relationship, rather than any specific business task, forward.



India in Figures

Land Area

3, 287,263 sq km



Population density:

329 sq km

Life expectancy:

Men 63 yrs

Women 67 yrs

Adult literacy:


Average per household


Divorces per1,000 :


The Economy


Indian Rupee


US$ 691bn

GDP per heads:

US$ 640

Employment (% of total):

Agriculture 60%

Industry 17%

Services 23%

Unemployed 4%

Main Exports: Type:

Engineering goods

Jewellery & gems



Agricultural goods

Destinations: (% total)

USA 20%

China 8%

UK 5%

United Arab Emirates 8%

Main Imports: Type:

Petroleum & product

Capital goods

Gold and silver

Electronic goods


Main countries of origin:

USA 7%

Belgium 6%

China 6%

Singapore 5%


China in Figures

Land Area

9, 560,900



Population density:

136 sq km

Life expectancy:

Men 71 yrs

Women 75 yrs

Adult literacy:


Average per household


Divorces per1,000 :


The Economy





GDP per heads:


Employment (% of total):

Agriculture 50%

Industry 22%

Services 29%

Unemployed 4%

Main Exports:Type:

Office equipment


Telecoms equipment

Electrical machinery


Destinations: (% total)

USA 21%

Hong Kong 17%

Japan 12%

South Korea 5%

Germany 4%

Main Imports:Type:

Electrical machinery

Petroleum products

professional & scientific instruments

Office equipment

Other machinery

Main countries of origin:

Japan 17%

Taiwan 12%

South Korea 11%

USA 8%

Germany 6%