Business / Opinion

Blending Confucius with Aristotle

By Cecily Liu (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-30 07:02

"So we have this very big difference between China and the West because the West is more Aristotle-like and China is more Confuciuslike."

Blending Confucius with Aristotle

Blending Confucius with Aristotle

When ancient philosophy is translated into today's terms, it means Chinese people do business over meals, but lunch and dinner is not used to talk about business, Judge says. Rather, it is a way of getting to know one's business partner as a person.

And because trust has been ingrained in Chinese people's view of the world since ancient times, it is hard for Chinese entrepreneurs to adapt to the Western way of doing business even when they know the strength of contracts in the West.

"When people go overseas, guanxi comes back. They will deal with people they have met and trust. They may not completely believe in the legal system and other checks and balances, so I think their instinct remains to meet and get to know people."

Judge believes the West can learn more about the importance of relationships from China, as he believes it is best for trust and law to go hand in hand. "I think there are often issues that arise afterwards if you buy something. In addition to this, you want to know that you buy it from a trustworthy person, so there is nothing hidden, and you may want the person to stay on as a consultant afterwards to help smooth the transition."

Other lessons the Western world can learn from China about the ideas of long-term views and loyalty to one's company, he says.

Chinese tend to take a longer-term view of business, and they are often more loyal to their companies and change jobs much less frequently than people do in the West, so it ensures continuity for the business.

"One of the reasons for this in China might be that China is more community-based while the West is more individual-based. So there is a tradeoff between individuals and society. Chinese are more loyal to where they are. This might not be necessarily good for the person but it is good for the company to have less disruption."

In addition, Judge says he is impressed with the hard working and motivational attitude of Chinese people, after observing young Chinese in the UK.

"They are very hard working, very intelligent, and very capable. They look for opportunities all the time, they are open to suggestions and ideas and are very dynamic."

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