conflict resolution in China

It is commonly assumed that China, like most eastern countries, has very few conflicts. It is true that Chinese have very few court litigations. Chinese value harmony more than justice. They tend to avoid conflict. Chinese don’t use institutions to resolve conflicts with other Chinese.  In fact, big parts of Chinese social behavior have evolved with the implicit or explicit purpose of avoiding Chinese institutions like police, courts, and government structures. Therefore, Chinese seem to have less conflict.

However, most of the conflicts are solved inter personally. When there are issues between counter parties, they always have dinner together and talk. There are seldom sharp words since no one wants to lose face.

China focuses on common ground which is obvious in its foreign policy. China has consistently insisted to solve issues in the principle of “shelving disputes” and seek for mutual interest.  It is the same in business. They focus on shared goals, visions and interests. There should not be absolute winners or losers during conflict resolution. Both sides should be prepared to make concessions and compromise.

Since relationship is a major part in Chinese business, developing good relationship beyond work is a good way to resolve conflict. It refers to one’s personal network of family, friends, coworkers, and associates. It is a complex web of social connections. Maintaining relationships with others can ensure respect, emotional support and possibly economic assistance from others in times of need. So when it comes to conflict, people would take relationship into serious consideration so that they avoid being rude and losing face.


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