2001 Conference (May 27-29)

Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Jason Hu-Ji-Xuan

Self-Organization behind Corporate Development in U.S. and China:
Two Types of Companies Due to Cultural Differences




The growth of international business and globalization process needs more effective and efficient cross-cultural communication and management. However, significant differences in working style, performance and decision structures of companies in different countries are often troublesome to deal with by companies trying to enter into a market of a different culture. This paper applies self-organization theory to analyze such differences and therefore provide clues for managers in multinational companies who have to face such differences in their work.

Under the seemingly similar organizational charts and business models, two types of companies can be distinguished: Agreement-binding (Type A) versus Leadership-binding (Type L). From the viewpoint of a Type A company, a Type L company may be unreliable and with little efficiency. From the viewpoint of a Type L company, a Type A company may be too fussy with detail data, inflexible and even cold-blood. Type As are more likely to be observed in the U.S. and other Western countries while Type Ls are more likely to be found in China and other Asian countries, due to their dominating cultural difference. The formation process, the decision style, and the organizational behaviors of these two types of organizations are highlighted and attributed to the key cultural elements residing at individual level, namely, one culture emphasizes creditability, fairness and inspiration while another culture emphasizes face-keeping, favor-seeking and fate-gambling. Initial testing questions to identify the types of a given company are developed. More understanding towards the other type during the encounter and cooperation of two types could be reached through the viewpoint of this paper.


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