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Cord Houle: Tianjin day 8

Today’s class talked a lot about face, or the way people or organizations represent themselves. It became apparent real quickly the one of the most important aspects of Chinese culture was this face or how people are represented. This issue was stressed in the context of both, international management in China as well as in HRM. Like guanxi, Face is a fundamental cornerstone that the culture is built off of and any business professional needs to have a solid grasp on it in order to do business in china.

The use of “face” was very apparent when we visited Tasly, a pharmaceutical company in china. The company spent millions of dollars to make their headquarters look fancy and elaborate. They had many sculptures and wall art. Often times these artifacts would decorate their very elaborate conference rooms. They had spent millions on a wall that depicted the history of medicine in china throughout the ages up to the current state. Tasly also spared no expense on their main building, having a elaborate fountain with a grand piano in the middle. While we were there the company representatives spent more time showing us face rather than explaining what the company does.

This idea of face is not so different from America. While it might not play as much of a role in our everyday lives people still care what others think of them and often times act in a way to send the message they want to convey. We will dress up for interviews and we will wear our nicest cloths out when we go somewhere where we might meet new people. While the Chinese people put a lot of significance on face, we as Americans can still relate to an extent. Appearance is everything in America and oftentimes we act just as the Chinese do regarding face. While we might not be as formal or as flashy in our private lives we often times “turn it on” for special occasions.