Connections or Relationships (Guan xi)

China is an emerging economic giant with almost endless potential for business opportunities.  Guan xi-meaning “connections” or “relationships”-is a Chinese way of doing business and is practically considered an art form there.  It involves exchanging “favors” when you need something done.  Many Chinese business people see it as a way to solidify relationships, get things done, and cultivate well being.  To Westerners, however, it often looks more like graft in the form of bribery, nepotism, gift giving, and kickbacks.  Transparency International, a German-based corruption watchdog, ranks China along with India, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, Malaysia, and South Africa as the countries with the most rampant corruption.  However, China is cracking down by enacting stricter anti-corruption laws and prosecuting violators.  In 2007, China’s former director of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for taking bribes.

a. Is it right for Western civilizations to impose their ethical views and behavior on other cultures, such as China?  State why or why not

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b. What are the consequences for U.S. companies that refuse to engage in less-that-ethical practices that foreign businesses or governments expect or that competitors use in foreign markets?

2. Create an idea for a new reality television show. Using the form provided in the chapter, develop a positioning statement for this television show. What competitive advantage does the show have over existing shows? How many and which differences would you promote?

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