China is a paradox when it comes to conflict and disagreement. Local Chinese talk about harmony, but seem quick to enter into disputes. They put a premium on “preserving face” but don’t seem to care about their reputation… or your opinion. Chinese say that relationships are key to their society, but are willing to betray a partner for pocket change. The number of conflicts is much lower than in the West, but a much higher percentage of them seem to spin out of control and undermine profitable partnerships. The Chinese culture values hospitality and graciousness, but it’s also fertile ground for blunders, faux pas, and accidental insensitivity.
This book is about managing conflict – not resolving conflict – for a very good reason. Because of the way Westerners and Chinese approach relationships, business, and conflict, disagreements in China have a very good chance of being unresolvable. This book aims to help you avoid conflict when you can and minimize the damage to your bottom line when you can’t.