Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Cultural adaptation between western buyers and chinese suppliers

By Fu Jia

Abstract

There are undoubtedly multiple factors that may contribute to the failure of a relationship, such as product quality or supplier reliability; however, when Western buyers source from China and attempt to build partnerships with Chinese suppliers, it is highly likely that they and their Chinese partners will encounter relational difficulties rooted in cultural differences between China and the West. Cultural adaptation is proposed as a solution to this problem; however the process of how each partner in a China-West partnership adapts to each other over time is not clear. Furthermore, the causal relationship between cultural adaptation and the mutual benefits of partnership has not previously been tested, nor have the contextual factors influencing the cultural adaptation process been identified. A multiple case study method was selected to answer three research questions developed from the three gaps identified above. Four China-US/UK cross cultural partnerships were selected for case analysis, which involved the retrospective evaluation of how both parties in each partnership adapt. The main instrument of data collection was the semi-structured interview supplemented with questionnaires and observations. The research concludes that as a result of cultural adaptation by both parties, a hybrid culture forms at the interface between Western buyers and their Chinese suppliers and is a combination of Guanxi and Western rules and procedures. Organizations as a whole do not adapt culturally, but rather those individuals working closely with each other at the interface of the two organizations including those working for Western buyer IPOs (International Purchasing Offices) in China and those who are top or middle level management in the Chinese suppliers. Two emerging contextual variables including the ownership of Chinese suppliers and the structure of IPOs have been identified from cross case analysis. The research also concludes that the higher the level of cultural adaptation the greater the mutual benefits perceived by both parties of the relationship

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk:1826/4525
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (2003). A conceptual model of performance measurement for supply chains”. doi
  2. (2004). A contingency perspective of communication, conflict resolution and buyer search effort in buyer-supplier relationships”. doi
  3. (1999). A meta-analysis of satisfaction in marketing channel relationships”. doi
  4. (2006). A model and a performance measurement system for collaborative supply chains”. doi
  5. (2001). A model of close business relationships in China (Guanxi)”. doi
  6. (2004). A new approach to intercultural cooperation”. In:
  7. (1978). A Realist Theory of Science. doi
  8. (1948). A Short History of Chinese Philosophy. doi
  9. (1989). Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review”. doi
  10. (1998). Alliance management: a new from the past and a look to the future”.
  11. (2004). An experiential approach to cross-cultural learning: a review and integration of competencies for successful expatriate adaptation”. doi
  12. (2006). An exploratory study of 'close' supplier- manufacturer relationships”. doi
  13. (1995). An integrated model of buyer-seller relationships”. doi
  14. (1982). An Interaction Approach”. In: Hakansson, doi
  15. (1993). Approaches to Social Enquiry. doi
  16. (2008). Assessing the Rigor of Case Study Research in Supply Chain Management”. Supply Chain Management: doi
  17. (2010). Available at: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/299588.html. Retrieved on
  18. (1992). Blow to EU economic reform hopes”.
  19. (2004). Building the Resilient Supply Chain”. doi
  20. (1989). Building theories from case study research”. doi
  21. (2001). Business-to-business partnerships: An empirical examination in a supply chain context.
  22. (2002). Case research in operations management”. doi
  23. (2008). Case Study Methodology in Business Research. doi
  24. (2003). Case study research: design and methods. 3rd Ed.,
  25. (2004). Changing principles of communication between Chinese managers and workers: Confucian authority chains and Guanxi as social networking”. doi
  26. (1994). Characteristics of partnership attributes, communication behaviour, and conflict resolution techniques”. doi
  27. (2005). Chinese business Guanxi: an organization or non-organization?”. Organizational Transformation and Social Change, doi
  28. (1996). Chinese social interaction: Harmony and hierarchy on the good earth”. In:
  29. (1992). Chinese social orientation: an integrative analysis”. In:
  30. (1996). Chinese values". In:
  31. (1991). Competition for competence and inter-partner learning within international strategic alliances”. doi
  32. (2004). Configuring and managing strategic supplier portfolios”. doi
  33. (1994). Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method. doi
  34. (1980). Cross-Cultural Adaptation in International Business”.
  35. (2007). Cross-cultural code switching: the psychological challenges of adapting behaviour in foreign cultural interactions”. doi
  36. (1999). Cross-cultural Collaborative Research: Toward Reflexivity”. doi
  37. (2004). Cross-cultural conflict and expatriate manager adjustment: An exploratory study”, doi
  38. (1994). Cross-cultural leadership-making: Bridging American & Japanese diversity for team advantage”. In: Triandis,
  39. (1995). Cross-national alliances and inter-organizational learning”. Organizational Dynamics, doi
  40. (2001). Cultural adaptation of business expatriates in the host marketplace”. doi
  41. (1990). Cultural Adaptations and Diffusion for Managerial Strategies and Responses in Hong Kong”. doi
  42. (1996). Culture and congruence: The fit between management practices and national culture”. doi
  43. (1991). Culture and organizations: software of the mind. doi
  44. (2001). Culture and Systems of Thought: Holistic versus Analytic Cognition”. doi
  45. (1980). Culture's consequences: international differences in work-related values. doi
  46. (2002). Dealing with data: using NVivo in the qualitative data analysis process”.
  47. (2004). Designing and conducting case studies in international business research”. In: doi
  48. (2004). Determinations of cultural adaptation in Chinese-U.S. joint ventures”. Cross Cultural Management, doi
  49. (1996). Developing and Implementing Supply Chain Partnerships”. doi
  50. (2004). Dictionary (in Chinese)
  51. (2005). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. 2nd edition. doi
  52. (2003). Dyadic adaptation in business-tobusiness markets”. doi
  53. (1993). East meets West meets Mideast: Further explorations of collectivistic and individualistic work groups”. doi
  54. (2000). Economic perspective of Guanxi”. In: doi
  55. (2002). Effective case research in operations management: a process perspective”. doi
  56. (2002). European Commission (2003-05-06), Recommendation 2003/361/EC: SME Definition, http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/enterprise_policy/sme_definition/index_en.htm, retrieved 2010-01-13
  57. (1984). Experiential Learning. doi
  58. (1987). Face and favor: The Chinese power game”. doi
  59. (2005). Facets and dimensions of cross-cultural adaptation: refining the tools”.
  60. (1997). French Statism at the Crossroads”. In: doi
  61. (2000). From arms-length to collaborative relationships in the supply chain An evolutionary process”. doi
  62. (2003). Functions of industrial supplier relationships and their impact on relationship quality”. Industrial Marketing Management, doi
  63. (2007). Global Sourcing and Logistics”. Report of Global Sourcing and Logistics Project for DFT (Department for Transport),
  64. (1993). Globalization of the procurement process”.
  65. (2006). Growth and cohesion in the European Union: The Impact of Macroeconomic Policy.
  66. (2001). Guanxi and organizational dynamics: Organizational networking in Chinese firms”. doi
  67. (1997). Guanxi and professional leadership in contemporary SinoAmerican joint ventures in mainland China”. doi
  68. (1998). Guanxi bases, Xinyong and Chinese business networks”. doi
  69. (2001). Guanxi: A conceptual analysis”.
  70. (1996). Guanxi: Connections as substitutes for formal institutional support”. doi
  71. (1997). Guanxi: Principles, philosophies, and implications”.
  72. (1989). Hybrid Arrangements as Strategic Alliances: Theoretical Issues”. doi
  73. (2007). Identifying potential Guanxi related sources of risk for Western firms sourcing in China”.
  74. (1992). Industrial networks: A Review”. In: Axelsson, doi
  75. (1991). Inter-firm Adaptation in Business Relationships”. doi
  76. (1994). Inter-organizational governance in marketing channels”. doi
  77. (1996). Interaction, relationships and networks in business markets: an evolving perspective”. doi
  78. (1973). Intercultural Education in the Community of Man.
  79. (2006). International purchasing offices in China”. doi
  80. (1999). Internationalization as a learning process: Singapore MNCs in China”. Academy of Management Executive, doi
  81. (1998). Introduction: theories and issues in the study of trust”. In
  82. (2003). Lean thinking: banish waste and create wealth in your corporation. doi
  83. (1998). Learning from collaboration: Knowledge and networks in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries”. California Management Review, doi
  84. (2002). Learning in strategic alliances: An evolutionary perspective”.
  85. (2006). Lecture notes on ancient Chinese culture (in Chinese).
  86. (2008). Linking Chinese leadership theory and practice to the world: leadership secrets of the Middle Kingdom”. In: doi
  87. (2005). Linking firm culture and orientation to supply chain success”. doi
  88. (1990). Locus of control, social support, stress, and adjustment in international transfers”. doi
  89. (1994). Management in China during the age of reform. doi
  90. (2008). Management Research: Theory and Practice. doi
  91. (1996). Managing an Inter-organizational Network: A Framework of the Institutional Mechanism for Network Control”. doi
  92. (1996). Managing changes in globalizing business: how to manage cross-cultural business partners”. doi
  93. (2000). Mapping relationships in China: Guanxi dynamic approach”. doi
  94. (1994). Marketing's third paradigm: doi
  95. (2010). Mitigation of supply chain relational risk caused by cultural differences between China and the West: a conceptual model”. doi
  96. (1979). Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: triangulation in action”. doi
  97. (1995). Native American Postcolonial Psychology, doi
  98. (1992). Network Dyads in Entrepreneurial Settings: doi
  99. (2004). On the intricacies of the Chinese Guanxi: A process model of Guanxi development”. doi
  100. (2006). On the performance of Chinese stage-owned and private enterprises: the view from foreign-invested enterprises”.
  101. (1999). Organizations as adaptive systems in complex environments: The case of China”. doi
  102. (1996). Partnership satisfaction: Using the underlying dimensions of supply chain partnership to measure current and expected levels of satisfaction”.
  103. (2006). Perspectives on disability and rehabilitation. doi
  104. (1962). Power-dependence relations”. doi
  105. (1999). Predicting international joint venture interaction frequency in U.S.-Chinese ventures”.
  106. (1998). Processes of a case study methodology for postgraduate research in marketing”. doi
  107. (2000). Purchasing organisation involvement in risk assessments, contingency plans and risk management: an exploratory study”. doi
  108. (2003). Putting supply chain learning into practice”. doi
  109. (2007). Qualitative data analysis with NVivo. doi
  110. (2001). Qualitative Research Interviewing. doi
  111. (2004). Qualitative research methods in international business”. In: Marschan- Piekkari, doi
  112. (2002). Questioning Guanxi: definition, classification and implications”. doi
  113. (1996). Regulating collective actions: a case of two cultural systems”. Paper presented at the Research Workshop on Global Organization at HKST, Hong Kong.
  114. (1995). Relational Governance as an Inter-organizational Strategy: An Empirical Test of the Role of Trust in Economic Exchange”. doi
  115. (2005). Relational quality and inter-personal trust in strategic alliances”. doi
  116. (1985). Research Notes and Communications Retrospective Reports of Strategic-level Managers: Guidelines for Increasing their Accuracy”. doi
  117. (1997). Retrospective reports in organizational Research: A reexamination of recent evidence”. doi
  118. (2003). Rhine Capitalism, Anglo-Saxon Capitalism and Redistribution” (Excerpt, English translation of German original).
  119. (2007). Risk and supply chain management: creating a research agenda”. doi
  120. (2005). Risk-based classification of supplier relationships”. doi
  121. (2003). Role making onto the starting work team using LMX leadership: diversity as an asset”. In:
  122. (1994). Self or group? Cultural effects of training on self-efficacy and performance”. doi
  123. (1964). Social and Economic Organization. 1st Ed,
  124. (1989). Social Loafing and Collectivism: doi
  125. (2002). Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology, th Edition, MA: Pearson Education Triandis,
  126. (2007). Sourcing in China: a typology”, doi
  127. (2006). Sourcing in China: Strategies, Methods and Experiences. doi
  128. (2003). Strategic models for the development of obligation based inter-firm relationships: A study of the UK automotive industry”. doi
  129. (1998). Strategic supplier segmentation: The next "best practice" in supply chain management”. doi
  130. (1999). Strategies for theorizing from process data”. doi
  131. (2003). Strategy as process, power and change. In: Cummins, S. Image of strategy.
  132. (2000). Study design in qualitative research 2: Sampling and data collection strategies”. doi
  133. (2001). Studying organizational change and development: Challenges for future research”. doi
  134. (1998). Success factors in strategic supplier alliances: The buying company perspective”. Decision Sciences, doi
  135. (1992). Suggestions for Studying Strategy Process: doi
  136. (2005). Supply Chain Collaboration: A Governance Perspective”. Supply Chain Forum, doi
  137. (2002). Supply chain competency: Learning as a key component”. Supply Chain Management, doi
  138. (1991). Supply chain management: The industrial organisation perspective”. doi
  139. (2001). Supply Chain Metrics”. doi
  140. (2002). Supply Chain Vulnerability”. Report for DFT (Department for Transport), Local Government and the Regions,
  141. (2006). Supply management: is it a discipline?”, doi
  142. (2004). Supply-chain culture clash”. MIT Sloan Management Review,
  143. (2006). Suzhou tops rankings on foreign investment in China”.
  144. (2008). The Analects. Translated by Raymond Dawson,
  145. (2007). The Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism”. Adam Smith Institute. www.adamsmith.org/ Pornpitakpan,
  146. (2004). The art of the possible: relationship management in power regimes and supply chains”. Supply Chain Management: An international journal, doi
  147. (1980). The Case for Qualitative Research", doi
  148. (1998). The China market: Strategic implications of Guanxi”. doi
  149. (2003). The coexistence of transaction and relational marketing: Insights from the Chinese business context”. Industrial Marketing Management, doi
  150. (1994). The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing”. doi
  151. (1987). The comparative method: Moving beyond qualitative and quantitative strategies. doi
  152. (1999). The development of a Guanxi framework”. doi
  153. (1985). The economic institutions of capitalism. doi
  154. (2005). The economy as a polity: the political constitution of contemporary capitalism. doi
  155. (2005). The effect of cultural adaptation on perceived trustworthiness: Americans adapting to Chinese Indonesians”. Asia Pacific doi
  156. (2004). The elusive cultural chameleon: cultural intelligence as a new approach to intercultural training for the global manager”. doi
  157. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Taoism. Routledge,
  158. (1949). The Essential Meanings of Chinese Culture.
  159. (1984). The evolution of psychic distance in international business relationships”. In:
  160. (1994). The impact of Confucianism on organizational communication”. doi
  161. (1992). The Past is the Past: Or Is It? The Use of Retrospective Account”. doi
  162. (2007). The pervasive human resource picture in interdependent supply relationships”. doi
  163. (2002). The production of management knowledge: philosophical underpinnings of research design”. In: doi
  164. (2004). The role of culture in conducting trustworthy and credible qualitative business research in China”. In doi
  165. (2006). The role of Guanxi in supply management practices”. doi
  166. (2005). The roles of xinyong and Guanxi in Chinese relationship marketing”. doi
  167. (1990). The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism. Walter de Gruyter,
  168. (1979). The Structuring of Organizations: A Synthesis of Research. doi
  169. (1996). The use of the case study method in logistics research”.
  170. (1978). Theoretical Sensitivity,
  171. (1997). Theory building in qualitative research and computer programmes for the management of textual data”. doi
  172. (1993). Toward ethnorelativism: a developmental model of intercultural sensitivity”. In: Education for the intercultural experience.
  173. (1998). Trust and International Strategic Alliances: The Case of Sino-Foreign Joint Ventures”. In:
  174. (2001). Trust, control, and risk in strategic alliances: An integrated framework”. doi
  175. (1996). Trust, opportunism and governance: A process and control model”. doi
  176. (1990). Truth in marketing theory and research”. doi
  177. (2003). Western civilization in world history. doi
  178. (1997). What is a processual analysis”. doi
  179. (2000). What is Business Power?”. In: doi
  180. (1991). When in Rome? The effects of cultural adaptation on intercultural business negotiations”. doi
  181. (1988). Work role transitions: A study of American expatriate managers in Japan”. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.