Understanding Chinese Culture and Business from the Yin-Yang Perspective

  • Jianhong Zhang
  • Chaohong Zhou


Culture researchers have devoted substantial effort to identifying cultural differences between countries using different cultural dimensions. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the most important characteristics of Chinese culture are its high level of collectivism and power distance, with the Chinese having a relatively low level of uncertainty avoidance and relatively high levels of long-term orientation (Hofstede, 2001). In addition, based on Schwartz’s values (Schwartz, 1992), Chinese culture is characterized as having high levels of embeddedness, hierarchy and mastery. In terms of communication, China is recognized as being a high-context culture, which means ‘most of the information is either in the physical context or initialized in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message’ (Hall, 1976, p. 79). These studies provide a stylized overview of Chinese culture in comparison with others. However, for a better understanding of Chinese values, beliefs and behaviors, we need to understand the roots of the culture. This chapter aims to explain Chinese culture from the Yin-Yang perspective, the fundamental way of thinking which has prevailed in Chinese society for more than three thousand years. We argue that Yin-Yang is a fundamental principle that underpins Chinese culture, and its wisdom can be applied to life and business irrespective of the cultural context.


Chinese Culture Chinese People Uncertainty Avoidance Chinese Philosophy Bear Market 
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© Jianhong Zhang and Chaohong Zhou 2014

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  • Jianhong Zhang
  • Chaohong Zhou

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