1st Edition

A China Business Primer Ethics, Culture, and Relationships

By Michael A. Santoro, Robert Shanklin Copyright 2021
    144 Pages
    by Routledge

    144 Pages
    by Routledge

    The COVID-19 pandemic underscored longstanding fissures in China’s business relationships with the West. If the West is going to develop a relationship of mutual trust and improve business relations with China in the coming decades, it is imperative to understand how to engage with Chinese thinking on ethics in business—this book explains how.

    Government officials, businesspeople, and business-ethicists have trouble communicating about issues in ethics, policy, and business across the China-West divide. This book shows how to overcome the us-versus-them mindset plaguing China-West relations by presenting to Western audiences an easy-to-understand yet deeply informed primer on core ideas and perspectives in Chinese cultural and philosophical thought. The book considers original texts of Chinese philosophy and religion, and applies principles from those writings to three business-ethics topics of enduring interest to business executives, government officials, and academics, namely, the protection of intellectual property, assurance of product safety and quality in the pharmaceutical supply chain, and human rights. 

    This book is a must-read for those who want to forge constructive relationships with their Chinese counterparts based on mutual trust and understanding. The book is specifically relevant to business executives, but it should also be of interest to policymakers, educators, and students who seek to communicate more effectively with their Chinese counterparts, in particular about difficult and contentious business, policy, and ethical issues. 

    1. Tea with the Dragon: Traditional Chinese Ethics and Contemporary Chinese Business

    2. An Ethical Triad for Understanding Traditional Chinese Culture: Context-First, Interconnectedness, and Awareness, and How They Can Be Used to Protect Intellectual Property

    3. Cultivating Ethical Agility: Face and Assuring Safety and Quality in the Supply Chain

    4. Cultivating Ethical Agility and Employing Guānxi to Protect Human Rights

    5. Beyond Face and Guānxi: Normative Concepts and Foundational Values of Traditional Chinese Ethics


    Michael A. Santoro is the author of two previous books about China. A former Fulbright Fellow at the University of Hong Kong, he has taught at the Sinopec Management Institute and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is a professor of management and entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.

    Robert Shanklin is Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Santa Clara University. His teaching and publications include Chinese philosophy, business ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy of language. He has advised firms based in Silicon Valley and elsewhere on business ethics and China.

    "Well-researched, lucidly written, and bristling with insights, A China Business Primer offers a clear and effective practical guide to help contemporary Westerners navigate the uncharted waters of ethical practices, norms, and expectations in the Chinese business world." - Philip J. Ivanhoe, Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Georgetown University, USA

    "All of us who engage with contemporary China—in business, academia, and NGOs—encounter a world of references deeply held by our Chinese counterparts. This book arms you with those cultural/historical touchstones, and illuminates the Chinese approach to ethics (and how it differs from Western thinking). Up to date and essential knowledge for building your credibility and ethical fluency in today’s China."David Youtz, President, Yale-China Association, USA