How do Religion, Culture and Ethnicity Affect the Success or Failure of a Global Enterprise in China? Analytical Essay
There are many factors that would tend to have a significant impact to the success or failure of global enterprises or businesses operating in international scenes. As a matter of fact, these factors are highly regarded in every segment of the modern business world, considering their significant impact on businesses.
These factors would tend to serve as perfect guidelines for global entrepreneurs in their business plans, especially when they intend to venture into new markets or when planning to expand their businesses to other regions. There is no doubt that these factors form part of the most important things that global entrepreneurs would consider when laying planning for their businesses.
This paper observes some of the ways in which factors such as religion, culture and ethnicity affect the success or failure of global enterprises. In order to offer valid information of how these factors may influence global enterprises, China is used in this paper as the country to research. The paper also highlights the factors that could impact upon the decision making of the global entrepreneur in the selected country.
Cultural and ethnic diversities in China and their Impact on Global Enterprises
China is not only recognised as the fastest advancing economy in the world, but also as one of the most multicultural countries in the world today. The multiculturalism of China would come as a result of globalization and other factors that would include technological changes, an aging workforce and high demand for knowledge and skills in various areas.
Globalisation simply refers to the constant process through which different cultures, societies and economies interact with each other on global scales. Globalisation is said to be synonymous with the economic development and success of a nation, and this is evident in China where various aspects of globalisation have continued to play a significant role in transforming every sector of the economy (Combs et al. 2006, p. 517). Ever since the era of globalisation, China has undergone a massive social and economic transformation.
The industrial revolution was arguably one of the most important periods in the globalization timeline. This period would see a significant improvement in the quantity and quality of commodities in various regions of the world. This, in turn helped to improve global business relations between countries through exports of products.
The first phase of globalisation would come to an end after World War I. This war had brought adverse implications on the economic scenario, leading to a number of major crises that would affect the world in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of these crises are the gold standard crisis and the Great Depression..
Globalisation in the modern era, which occurred after World War II, has had a greater impact to the global business scenario, compared with the previous phase of globalisation. The global leaders had used this opportunity to enhance economic ties between countries allover the world. More importantly, it was also in the course of this time when many major countries came to attain their independence.
Following this significant advancement, the involved countries would start their own bilateral systems which served as avenues for economic relations with the rest of the world. These developments helped to strengthen the global economic situation, thus leading to improved trade relations among countries.
Other significant developments whose occurrence had been facilitated by globalisation include the establishment of the United Nations Organization (UNO), the World Trade Organization, creation of global corporations, and blend of tradition and culture across the nations. These factors played a key role in making China a multicultural country as people of different ethnicities found their way into the country mainly for economic-related reasons.
As various scholar and researchers have concluded, the largest impact of globalisation on countries would occur in the course of the modern age. For example, it was during this era when widespread development would take place in all sectors of China’s economy. This has further contributed to increased interactions between China and other countries, and in that case, sharing of cultural aspects, ideas, and traditions would occur, putting a direct influence on the country’s globalisation process.
In a matter of decades, China has changed from a determinedly Chinese nation to one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. As it would be observed, the aspect of cultural diversity has had far-reaching implications for the Asian country. China’s diverse cultures have significantly continued to impact many aspects of the way the nation relates with other countries around the world, especially in matters to do with business and commerce.
Multiculturalism is a construct that would tend to bring significant implications to societies (Cox & Balke 1991, p. 57). There is no doubt that this social construct has played a crucial role in promoting the current economic success currently enjoyed by China. As we all know, culture means a shared, system of values, attitudes, and beliefs that influences people’s behaviors and perceptions in life.
Basically, culture is shared by all members of a particular society, and in that case, people within a particular society will tend to live in patterned ways as they are adopted through a continuous process of social interaction. There is no doubt that multiculturalism in China has continued to play a crucial role in their economic development over the years.
Today, China is ranked position two among the biggest economies of the world after the United States. For this reason, other countries around the world, particularly the developing ones, have increasingly continued to look to China as a successful model that they can emulate in all aspects.
There are numerous ways in which multiculturalism in China has continued to impact the success of global enterprises in the country. For example, talking about ethnicity, China claims over 55 different ethnicities from different parts of the world. This diversity has continued to bring many opportunities to the Asian country, in terms of international business and marketing.
By migrating from their home countries and becoming part of China, these diverse communities have helped to enrich the entire Chinese society, since they tend to allow people experience different ways of dealing with various processes of life.
China had long discovered the benefits that can be realised from cultural diversity, and in that case, it opened its borders to foreign investors from all parts of the world. The country has always shown great concern in encouraging its diverse population to always appreciate each other’s culture in the society for the benefit of the country’s economy.
Launching an enterprise in global scale presents many challenges to entrepreneurs, especially if the targeted countries are ethnically homogenous. As it would be observed, global enterprises will tend to be successful in multi-ethnic countries than in ethically homogenous countries. As a multi-ethnic nation, China offers a great economic equality to foreign investors regardless of their backgrounds, and this makes it easy for global enterprises to thrive in the country.
As it would be observed, language differences between nations are one of the more obvious challenges that global enterprises must come across when venturing new regions. This, however, has never been the case with China where cultural diversity has helped to increase cross-cultural interaction and communication.
Moreover, diverse cultural countries have a variety of people from different ethnicities and this helps in promoting a friendly business environment for global enterprises (Lockwood 2005, p. 4). Through effective management of the cultures, China has managed to attract a large pool of investors into its business organizations. This brilliant approach would see the country benefit a lot from diverse ethnicity.
The effects of cultural diversity on organizational performance can never be overestimated. Numerous studies have shown cultural diversity to have had a positive impact on the overall performance of organisations that have embraced cultural diversity as a significant tool for business success (Bhatia & Chaudary 2003, p. 79). Being a multi-ethnic nation, China provides a promising basis for all the benefits that can be associated with racial diversity.
Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to, improved productivity, enhanced team cooperation, performance effectiveness, and improved consumer markets with a wide exposure to labour markets. Other notable benefits here include enhanced employer images, improved motivation and commitment, and enhanced effectiveness of complex organisational aspects.
All these aspects of a well-managed cultural diversity can be observed in a country such as China which is an ethnic diverse nation, and they play a very crucial role in ensuring that global enterprises survive in the country with very minimal challenges, compared to what would happen in a scenario where homogenous diversity applies. This, however, yields significant commercial benefits to global enterprises interested in venturing the rapidly changing business environment of China.
Impact of religion on global enterprises in China
Like culture and ethnicity, religion has had a significant impact on global enterprises operating in China. In the period before globalisation, Confucianism and Buddhism would have a strong impact on China’s economy for a very long time. Being part of the Chinese culture, these two philosophies had a significant role to play in almost every aspect of Chinese life.
This will have the meaning that, the two philosophies seriously influenced the way Chinese people lived. As it would be observed, both Buddhism and Confucianism aimed at promoting harmony in China, and their teachings emphasised for inner peace in the country.
In short, the two philosophies set out the right path which people should follow in ensuring that peace and harmony were preserved in the society. Due to the strong values of the philosophies, global enterprises venturing China would face fewer challenges if any. Since the two philosophies governed every relationship and operation including trade affairs, this would see the Chinese economy start integrating into the global economy in the year 1978, when the country opened up to the world (Lee & Peterson 2001, p. 412).
China’s economy has been growing rapidly in the past few decades. However, this economic success is closely associated with the two philosophies, among other factors as it has been shown in previous chapters of this work. More importantly, the Chinese business community in the global market, which has also been very successful, reflects the two philosophies in their organisational structure.
Being a multicultural nation, China enjoys a wide range of different religions drawn from all parts of the world. In this case, even though global enterprises may sometimes face stiff challenges from some indigenous Chinese cultures whose teachings may tend to contrast their business values, things cannot be so complicated with the multi-ethnic construct of the country’s population. China’s ethnic diversity is a clear indication that the country boasts of a great number of religions.
Obviously, there is a religion for every culture that exists in China and even more religious groups and subgroups for people coming from different national identities. In this regard, the many tribes in China serve as a cushion for global entrepreneurs intending to invest in the country who are likely to come across their own religions or other religions whose teachings may be in line with their business values.
The place of Women in Chinese society
In China, as in all societies nowadays, the controversial question of the position that should be taken by women still remains a matter of debate across different social units. As it would be observed, the role of women in the country would tend to differ greatly across the social borders. Women in modern China may not be repressed any longer by the strong cultural values and beliefs that were practiced in the country for centuries, but they are currently experiencing pressures from social settings and limitations in some areas of accountability.
This means that women in China are still facing discrimination and prejudice in the workplace. This, however, has been a common practice which has been enhanced by the traditional values of the Chinese and philosophical views such as Confucianism, which berated strong women in the society.
Even though the position of women in Chinese society has dramatically changed over the years, probably as a result of the country’s recent development in terms of economy, the power granted to women has not extended beyond family affairs (Ralston et al. 2005, pp. 24). This can be explained in the sense that, women in China continue to face glass ceiling barriers despite the increased employment and business opportunities for all.
Even though the country’s rapid development has changed the lives of women in the society, women still assume a relatively subordinate position to their male counterparts in diverse sectors of the economy. These challenges and limitations do not only affect Chinese women, but they also serve as significant barriers for global female entrepreneurs intending to invest in the country.
As it has been observed in this paper, religion, culture and ethnicity are significant factors that can influence the success or failure of global enterprises. These factors are just among the key things that global entrepreneurs will tend to put into consideration when venturing into a business in a foreign country. Among these factors, culture and ethnicity are observed to have a massive influence in all areas of the economy as it is in this example about China.
These factors may be either favourable or unfavourable to global entrepreneurs depending on the nature of the country they intend to venture. For instance, in this particular case about China, culture and ethnicity appears to favour global entrepreneurs in all aspects. However, the place of women in the society is still a matter of question in China, as in all societies, and this can affect the decision making of a global entrepreneur, especially if they are women.
Religion, culture, and ethnicity are important factors that would tend to have a significant impact on businesses. These factors can lead to business success or failure, depending on the way they are applied. In this regard, developing countries should follow the example of China and try to ensure that these factors are tailored to fit the needs of global entrepreneurs to enhance their development.
It will also be necessary for global entrepreneurs to determine how these factors would apply in their areas of interest, for this will make them come up with the right business decisions, thus sparing them future embarrassments and disappointments. In regard with discrimination and prejudice against women because of gender-based reasons, it is time countries focused more on the economical benefits that could be realized by giving women a fair treatment in all levels of the economy.
With about 46% of its labour force constituting of women, China serves a good example for other countries that still hold the perception that women cannot hold the same positions as their male counterparts in the society. However, the country should ensure that there are no glass ceilings for this category of people when it comes to promotions and sharing of responsibilities and benefits in the workplace.
Bhatia, S., K & Chaudary, P 2003, Managing Cultural Diversity in Globalization- Key to Business Success of Global Managers- Insights and Strategies, Deep & Deep Publication Pvt Ltd, New Delhi.
Combs, J., Liu, Y., Hall, A, & Ketchen, D 2006, ‘How much do high‐performance work practices matter? A meta‐analysis of their effects on organizational performance’, Personnel Psychology, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 501-528.
Cox, T & Balke, S 1991, ‘Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness’, Academy of Management Executive, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 55-59.
Lee, S. M & Peterson, S. J 2001, ‘Culture, entrepreneurial orientation, and global competitiveness’, Journal of World Business, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 401-416.
Lockwood, N 2005, Workplace diversity: Leveraging the power of difference for competitive advantage, Society for Human Resource Management, New York.
Ralston, D., Holt, D., Terpstra, R, & Kai-Cheng, Y 2008, ‘The impact of national culture and economic ideology on managerial work values: A study of the United States, Russia, Japan, and China’, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 8-26.
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