Showing posts from November, 2009

Does liberalism have Chinese roots?

Tim Ambler and Morgen Witzel, in their book Doing Business in China (first published in 2000, with a second edition in 2004) suggest that the liberal idea of laissez faire originates in China. Socialism, on the other hand, has its roots in Western philosophy. This is an interesting idea, because we tend to think that economic liberalism comes from the 'free' Western world, whereas socialism is the legacy of China's own recent past. The connection between Chinese philosophy and economic liberalism, also put forward in an article by Witzel on the internet for European Business Forum ( ( is formed by the inspiration some European, notably French, thinkers drew from Daoist (Taoist) writing. Witzel emphasizes the difference between Confucian and Daoist thinking:
"While the Confucians believed that virtue could best be achieved through regulation and control, the other great philosophical school of ancient China, the Daois…

Hofstede and China: Limitations

Characterizing Chinese Culture: the Poverty of Hofstede’s DimensionsDr. Huibert de ManOpen University of the Netherlands/Maastricht School of Management(Originally written in 2005, adapted in 2009)
In many publications on Chinese organizations and management, some attention is given to the influence of the specific business culture in China, which significantly differs, from North American or European culture.The most cited author in this respect is no doubt Hofstede. His analysis of work attitudes of IBM marketing professionals in 40 countries, by means of survey research in 1968 and 1972, formed the basis for a framework for the analysis of cultural differences, which was published in his book ‘ Culture’s Consequences’ in 1980 (Hofstede, 1980). This framework now belongs to the standard view of culture in management. Uncertainty avoidance, collectivism (-individualism), power distance and masculinity (-feminity) have become the standard dimensions in which cultural differences betwe…