Trouble in the Middle: American-Chinese Business Relations, Culture, Conflict, and Ethics, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Trouble in the Middle

American-Chinese Business Relations, Culture, Conflict, and Ethics, 1st Edition

By Steven P. Feldman


493 pages

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This book will help readers better understand the ethical and cultural assumptions that both American and Chinese business cultures bring to business relationships in China. It analyzes the relationships developed between the two cultures, areas where they conflict, and how these conflicts are (or are not) resolved.

These relationships are investigated in three stages. The author:

  • describes and interprets American business experience in China
  • describes and interprets Chinese business experience in China, including interaction with Americans
  • compares these two business cultures as they are experienced in China to investigate the relationships between them, centering the cultural analysis on ethical issues.

Feldman's thorough research gets to the crux of how American and Chinese executives perceive the ethical and cultural aspects of doing business. The result is a book that will prove helpful to all those looking to expertly navigate Chinese-American business relationships.


"Feldman has written this well-researched, informative work "to investigate the ethical and cultural aspects of Chinese-American business relations." …He examines assumptions Americans bring to Chinese negotiations by scrutiny of relevant literature and empirical analyses. He also points out that the Chinese are just as victimized by their corrupt systems as are foreign business partners. Finally, Feldman compares the experiences of American and Chinese businesses in China. Because the primary research in this area is still rather scant, his data collection method was interviews. This firsthand, insider information is vital to understanding the way business is practiced in China. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - L. K Miller, Western Kentucky University in CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Rationale for and Outline of the Book 2. Trouble in the Middle: The Ethics of Cross-Cultural Business Relations Culture and History 3. Central Control and Its Shadow: A Brief History of Chinese Culture and Institutions 4. Confused Motives and Deep Ambivalences: A Brief History of American-Chinese Cross-Cultural Relations in China Government and Corruption 5. The Turtle and the Hare: An Essay on Political and Economic Reform in China 6. Business-Government Corruption in China: Americans Suffer Only the Half of It Culture and Conflict 7. One’s, Two’s, and Three’s: The Roots of Cultural Conflict in American-Chinese Business Relations 8. Culture, Corruption, and Business in China: The Conflicting Worlds of American and Chinese Intellectual Property 9. Clear as Mud: The Ethics of Intellectual Property in China 10. Power, Property, and Culture: American-Chinese Conflicts over Intellectual Property in China Conclusion 11. Notes on the Cultural Middle Epilogue 12. Three Years Later: 2010

About the Author

Steven P. Feldman is professor of business ethics at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He was Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in business ethics at Shanghai International Studies University in Shanghai, China. His Ph.D is from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. He has held visiting positions at Oxford University, University of Innsbruck, and the University of Minnesota. He has lectured broadly in China on business ethics issues. His previously published books are Memory as a Moral Decision and The Culture of Monopoly Management. He has published extensively in management journals on ethical and cultural issues. Steve specializes in American-Chinese business relations, business ethics, and nonprofit management.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / General
TRAVEL / Asia / China