Critical Analysis

1784 words - 8 pages

The abundance of west versus east comparisons has always been at war. From what utensils is the most effective way to eat, to which entity is it better to follow. Chinese Conflict Preferences and Negotiating Behavior: Cultural and Psychological Influences, by Kirkbride, Tang, and Westood (1991), is no different. This article submits a comparison of differences in conflict management and negotiation styles by westerners and easterners.
Kirkbride, Tang, and Westwood have presented a compelling comparison between Anglo-American methodologies of negotation and conflict management to Chinese methodologies. For the purpose of their article, Anglo- Americans embody Canada, Britain, American, ...view middle of the document...

The authors have positioned themselves in which they believe that the cultural factors, stemmed from tradition, history, and philosophy steers the style in which Chinese people engage in conflict resolution and negotiations. I believe that the comparison is partial. The Chinese people analyzed are all directly influenced and under the power of China. Other Chinese people such as Hakka or Macanese, who are under the influence of India and Portugal respectively may have shown staggering results and should have also been investigated.
This paper will be structured by the material and arguments submitted by the author followed by my analysis.
Kirkbride, Tang, and Westwood (1991) established comparison by studying the Chinese values, harmony, collectivism, conformity, power-distance, holism, contextualism, time, face, shame, reciprocity, and guanxi instilled to Chinese people through history, tradition, and philosophy.
The first key value is harmony and collectivism. This embodies the individual to adapt to the “collectivity, to control their own emotions, to avoid confusion, competition and conflict, and to maintain inner harmony (Kirkbride, Tang, & Westwood, 1991)”. That is to say, this argument is stressed on Chinese people maintaining the unity and continuous relationship with other participants for a harmonious process. The comparison is that “Anglo-American culture gear towards characteristics of individualism and egocentrism (Kirkbride, Tang, & Westwood, 1991)”. As such, the authors suggest that in order to maintain peace, Chinese people are likely to “avoid antagonisms and conflict in order to seek harmonious and collectivity (Kirkbride, Tang, & Westwood, 1991)”.
Kirkbride, Tang, and Westwood seem to imply that Chinese people are likely to sucum to their negotiatiors, more specifically Westerners. This perspective illustrates Chinese people as docile in which Easteners will accept whatever is forced upon them as long as it maintains peace. Kirkbride, Tang, and Westwood do not seem to recognize that a negotiation does not symbolize a win-lose scenario (Fontana, 2012).
Following harmony and collectivism is conformity, hierarchy, and power-distance. This value pertains to following the status quo. Individuals are expected to act in a prescribed manner, instilled by societal norms, tojustify how they interact with others (Kirkbride, Tang, & Westwood, 1991). Kirkbride, Tang, and Westwood (1991) suggest that Chinese people’s consideration towards maintaing a positive relation, steers them away from conflict.
The authors did not provide a comparison for this value. I propose that no comparison was given because the value of respecting status quo applies in the western work environment. For example, if a superior order you to fulfill a worksheet, meant to be completed by him, the normality is to “just do it”. This is similar to the Chinese people in upholding the status quo and knowing their place.
The third value is...

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