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Importance of Time in Chinese Culture Essay

The importance of time is always dependent on the different perspectives of people’s origin, particularly culture. “Time is one of the most important bases by which culture rests and all other activities revolve” (Riggs et al 31). Different cultures handle time differently. In the past, time was measured in daylight, darkness, or in seasons; however, nowadays, time has become more important and more complicated. Yet, no matter how complicated it has become, it always boils down to the influence of culture, just like China, one of the countries with a very rich culture.

The impact of modernization in China on the changes of Chinese’ behavior is significant. However, these changes in their behavior have had a more significant impact on their values. Indeed, Chinese seem to have never given up one of their most important cultural characteristics, Guanxi, which up until now, remains as an important Chinese business element. In the advent of globalization, Chinese has kept and reinforced this unique characteristic even in the most important socio-cultural changes.

Yes, China has indeed undergone substantial cultural changes; nonetheless, with regards to the thinking and dealing process, modern China remains rooted to its traditional Yin Yang approach, and this is reflected on their shrewd use of time to keep their relationship intact. Because Chinese people value relationship more than anything else, as they believe that this could lead them to success, it is logical to expect that the Chinese society concentrates on fluid/multi-focus time value.

Chinese people are both famous and infamous in different negotiations for their wise use of time as their bargaining tool. Chinese are known to have adept ability to run down the clock because they prioritize their relationships with their associates or business partners first. This way, they know that the value of relationship or guanxi continues. Moreover, Chinese can afford or stand to play the waiting game, provided that there is always someone left to invest and spend for them. Cultures around the world have developed their own way of responding to time.

The dimension for time orientation is based on two aspects; the relative significance the culture gives to its past, present, and future, and its way of approaching the time. China has indeed embraced globalization since the last three decades. Despite this, its stronghold to its culture is still very evident. This is because China is considered as a past-oriented culture country. Countries that fall under this category have a culture that is largely leaned towards the past; they see their future as a repetition of their past experiences.

Moreover, they have high respect and regard for their collective historical experiences and their ancestors. As per David Thomas’ description of the country, China embraces its tradition and culture of ancestor worship and has strong pride of its customary and cultural persistence for over thousands of years (73). The Chinese society holds the perspective that their past is their guide on how to live their lives in the present. According to an old Chinese proverb, “Consider the past and you will know the present” (Quotations).

Work Cited Riggs, James, et al. Industrial Organization and Management. Manila, Philippines: McGraw-Hill, Inc. , 1980. Lo, Vincent. Chinese Business Culture: Guanxi, An Important Chinese Business Element. 17 March 2005. 01 May 2009 <http://chinese-school. netfirms. com/guanxi. html> Thomas, David. Cross-Cultural Management: Essential Concepts Second Ed. California: Sage Publications. 2008. Quotations. 14 February 2008. 01 May 2009. <http://www1. bbiq. jp/quotations/past. htm>


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