• Minglei Wang
4. semester, Culture, Communication & Globalisation, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)

The purpose of this study is to give a better explanation and understanding of the underlying factors that lead to Chinese people’s thinking pattern, interpersonal behavior, and decision making process, and trying to help reduce the potential misunderstandings and conflicts in intercultural communications between China and western countries by elaborating Guanxi, Renqing, and Mianzi, three of the very dominant elements in Chinese social exchange rules and social relationships. In order to reach the goal, it focused on three specific questions: 1) what are the rules of Renqing, Mianzi and Guanxi in china; 2) how does it work and influence Chinese people’s daily life; 3) how and why is Chinese Renqing, Mianzi, and Guanxi rule different from the social exchange rule (s) and social relationship in western countries.
The study was based on a qualitative research methodology, research data consisted of eight qualitative semi-structured interviews with four of them from university students in China (age ranging 20-30) and four of them from university students in Australia (age ranging 20-30).
The comparison of data from Chinese and Australian university students showed three different aspects when being asked about principles and rules of social relationship and social exchange, which respectively were: 1) Different views regarding the disparity of social status; 2) Different views regarding favor returning; 3) Different views regarding rules of social exchange and social relationship in general. Based on the discussion of these three different aspects, the study concluded that: 1) Chinese social exchange and social relationship contain a very important idea of renqing. In the playing out of renqing, obligations of reciprocity are heavily formed by the hierarchically structured network of guanxi in which one is involved, by the long time period over which these relations are expected to last, and by the public nature of the obligations incurred in continuing exchanges (Hwang and Hu 2004). Also, these obligations are usually connected to mianzi, and negotiated through the acceptance as well as refusal of the request that enhancingor weakening social relations (Hwang and Hu 2004); 2) since the emphasis and combination of renqing and mianzi in Chinese social interaction, people tend to focus on one’s social status, resources possession, capital, social power, social prestige etc during social exchange and social relationship; besides, the formalization of renqing in Chinese society causes the redundancy, hypocrisy, and false-heartedness among Chinese social exchange and social relationship, people tend to care more about the exchange of interests, resources as well as power rather than real emotion and help, also, individuals set up and use guanxi or guanxi network to pursue and exchange social resources and capital by applying renqing and mianzi rules; 3) Geopolitical, social structural, as well as historical and cultural reasons are three main sources leading to the difference between Chinese and western social exchange and social relationship rules.
The author recommended that although cultures are distinct from one another; however, the aim of exploring the differences among various cultures should not be focusing on assimilation or change but being understandable, multicultural, and how to reduce potential conflicts and misunderstandings in nowadays intercultural communication. Also, the development and change of culture are taking place all the time, therefore studies related to this field should always keep pursuing and remain critical.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2013
Antal sider94
Udgivende institutionAAU
ID: 76990258