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American and Chinese Cultures and Communication

Most ethnicities have habits, customs, and rules that may seem strange to representatives of other cultures. These habits often form a stereotype that cannot determine all representatives of the culture; for example, all Russians drink vodka. At the same time, some of the stereotypes are annoying but do not bring significant harm to people, while the others are discriminatory and hinder a successful carrier and life. China is one such example, as stereotypes about Chinese people impede their career development. Hence, this paper will examine the differences between Chinese and American cultures, such as leadership qualities, manners, and communication features, to demonstrate how society discriminates against Chinese people and prevents them from occupying managerial positions.

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First, in Chinese culture, in contrast to the United States, hierarchy plays a significant role in the family and working relationships. For this reason, many Americans view the Chinese as quiet and not active enough. This stereotype prevents the Chinese and other Asians from getting managerial jobs. According to the Americans, a leader should be active, disruptive, and result-oriented, while these traits remain less critical for the Chinese. For a Chinese, it is more important to listen, analyze and come to a common opinion.

Moreover, a Chinese person who maintains a career hierarchy does not oppose or even actively react without the permission or approval of his or her supervisor. At the same time, Americans encourage employee initiative, which may be the opposite of senior employees in the hierarchy, if it is beneficial to the company. Therefore, while Americans can step over the heads of other people to achieve their goals, the Chinese will patiently wait for the boss to notice his positive changes. However, this attitude does not mean that Chinese employees are bad leaders when they have authority. Consequently, the distinctive behavior of the Chinese has created a stereotype of their quietness, which prevents them from getting leadership jobs.

Secondly, differences in daily habits make Americans think that the Chinese are less well-mannered and therefore cannot lead a team. For example, the Chinese language has many intonations that convey the meaning of the message, but it seems that the person talks very loudly from the outside. Often this habit carries over into English, making communication more intense. Chinese also have a different food etiquette than Americans, which can make them seem like bad-mannered people. For example, in China, it is normal to slurp soup and chomp loudly. Chinese can also use a toothpick right at the table, since there is nothing wrong with the natural processes of the body. However, Americans usually perceive such habits as ignorance because their rules tell them to eat carefully and without unnecessary noises. Consequently, Chinese Americans often do not get a managerial job because their bosses believe that Chinese workers cannot respect decency rules, which harms the company’s image.

Another important difference between American and Chinese culture is the attitude of people towards the same issues and information. The Chinese are usually interested in matters such as age, marital status, children, or a person’s religion to express their respect and not offend the person in communication. For example, the Chinese believe that the older the person is, the more respectful the treatment should be. However, these issues are disrespectful in American culture and can even be viewed as discriminatory. For instance, a woman may perceive the question about her marriage or children as discrimination or harassment. In addition, it is also typical for Chinese people to invite colleagues or business partners to an informal meeting to strengthen friendly relations. Americans are more likely to choose to distinguish between personal and work relationships. For this reason, an invitation to a bar or coffee can also be misunderstood by American colleagues. Consequently, these differences can also create a negative image for Chinese employees and reduce their chances of gaining leadership positions due to a lack of understanding of their communication intent.

In conclusion, this review demonstrates that a lack of knowledge of American and Chinese cultural differences often prevents Chinese Americans from gaining managerial positions. The stereotypical perception of Chinese people as quiet and shy is often confused with respect for superiors and strict adherence to hierarchy. At the same time, even calm and listening-oriented approach to management can be practical, although it does not match the typical American perception of a leader. Differences in communication and etiquette can also hinder career growth, since good manners in American society are valued along with professional skills; however, some of the Chinese practices are bad form in the US. In addition, the Chinese custom of asking personal questions and establishing close relationships with colleagues can be perceived in the United States as an attempt to discriminate or harass a person. Consequently, since such behavior is not acceptable in the workplace, Chinese American employees may unknowingly harm their career paths. However, understanding these features by representatives of both cultures helps solve the problem and allows Chinese American workers to take more managerial positions if they deserve them.

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