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Business etiquette, a behavior science, is the norms in the business activities, , which plays an important role in the business communication .understanding Chinese and western

etiquette and their distinctions is of great importance in promoting international business exchanges. With the changing role China played in the international exchanges, we communicate and cooperate frequently with foreigners . It is the notable position that makes us have a more normative and courteous criteria in the international business communication, especially in the business activities with westerners. This thesis ,from the international business etiquette , lays emphasis on the comparison between Chinese and western business protocol, it mainly described the general definition of business etiquette, characteristics of business etiquette, embodiment in business interactions, influencing factors (Cultural factors) of Chinese and western etiquette and the relevant solutions of the differences. The thesis let us comprehend and receive different stages of Chinese and western business etiquette , “recognition—understanding—comprehension ”,through lots of examples, aiming to help us to apply these theories into practice. The consequence of this study shows that in order to avoid the misunderstandings in business activities, especially in international business exchanges, not only should we know some basic business norms, but also we need to understand the distinctions of business etiquette mainly caused by different cultures profoundly.

Key words :

business etiquette


business exchange


商务礼仪是商务活动中的行为规范,它是一门行为科学,在商务交往中扮 演着重要的角色 ,了解中西方的礼仪及其差异对促进国际间商务交往的顺利进 行有着举足轻重的作用。 随着中国在国际交往的角色发生改变,中国的对外交流 和合作日益频繁,国际地位越来越明显,国际间的交往,尤其是和西方国家的商 务交往就更应该规范化、礼仪化;本文从国际间商务礼仪入手,对中国和西方的 商务礼仪的异同点予以概述和比较,主要论述了商务礼仪的有关概念、中西方商 务礼仪的主要特征、 中西方礼仪在商务活动中的不同体现、影响中西方商务礼仪 的主要因素 (文化因素) 及相关的解决办法。 用大量的实例来反映礼仪差异, 让 读者从“ 初步认知——初步了解——了解”各个不同阶段对中西方商务礼仪进 行理解和接受,并将它用于实践。 研究结果表明,为了避免商务活动中,尤其 在国际商务交往中的误解, 除了了解一些基本的商务规范,更需要深层次地了解 由不同文化间产生地商务礼仪差异。

关键词 : 商务礼仪




Comparison between Chinese and Western business etiquette
1. Introduction
Business etiquette is a code of conduct, which embodies mutual respect in the day-to-day business activities. It is also the norms for people who is engaged in commercial activities and business communications, in other words, how to master basic business activities, so you can meet the requirements for business; how to make yourself familiar with the norms and disclose your dignified demeanor ;how to avoid the embarrassing questions you encountered : such as dress wrong ,dining at a loss; how to eliminate a small matter ,which will have the unexpected negative image to the individuals or companies. Only have you know some knowledge of Chinese and English etiquette , all these problems can be easily solved .Therefore business etiquette helps to create good personal image and corporate image. Business etiquette is coordination and communication functions with cohesion emotional role. With the development of society, the business relations are getting wider and wider, in a variety of business contacts gradually formed a code of conduct and guidelines, guidance on business conduct themselves in society, and as a code of society, coordinating human relations and human and social relations, so that people are friendly to each other, respect the other's premise, compliance with the protocol norms, in accordance with the protocol norms restrain itself, it is easy for people to have interpersonal communication. Therefore , emotional pool plays to the role, and establish mutual respect, mutual trust, friendship and cooperation relations, what?s more, it will help the development of various undertakings. Business etiquette is a behavior science, and should be trained seriously and systemically. Due to geographical and historical background, various kinds of differences occurs between the systems, but the desire to reflect the aspirations is the same, and to abide by the norms and codes of conduct is consistent. Business etiquette is made up of significantly more important things than just knowing which fork to use at lunch with a client. Unfortunately, in the perception of others, the devil is in the details. People may feel that if you can't be trusted not to embarrass yourself in business and social situations, you may lack the self-control necessary to be good at what you do. Etiquette is about presenting yourself with the kind of polish that shows you can be taken seriously. Etiquette is also about being comfortable around people (and making them comfortable around you!) People are a key factor in your own and your business' success. Many potentially worthwhile and profitable alliances have been lost because of an unintentional breach

of manners. Dan McLeod, president of Positive Management Leadership Programs, a union avoidance company, says, "Show me a boss who treats his or her employees abrasively, and I'll show you an environment ripe for labor problems and obviously poor customers relations. Disrespectful and discourteous treatment of employees is passed along from the top."( Dan McLeod:2008) Which strongly emphasize the importance of courtesy, therefore , it?s necessary to know etiquette, especially the business etiquette.

2. Characteristics of business etiquette
As regional and historical reasons, understandings of people from different regions and ethnic varies , as the development of whole world .Chinese people have attached great importance to the foreigners , especially the westerners ,trading between the two regions is becoming more and more frequent ,establishing good relations with western people is of great importance ,therefore ,knowing the business etiquette is essential . As China's reform and opening up the pace accelerated, people?s living and working in foreign exchanges increased. Understanding the content of foreign-related rituals and requirements, and mastering the skills of contacts with foreigners is particularly important. In the business occasions , how to make business etiquette effect completely and how to create the best interpersonal relationships is closely related to the principles of business etiquette , which can be concluded into four aspects: (1) The principle of sincerity and respect Socrates had made a very famous statement: “ there must not be a gift to a friend, you have to contribute to your sincere love ,learning how to use legitimate means to win a person?s heart .”(Voice of English ,2005) Which tells us that if you contact with the people , sincere respect for the ritual is the primary principle . Only you treat others sincerely and courteously ,can you create a harmonious happy relations, for good faith and respect are complementary to each other. Sincerity is a practical and realistic approach to communicate with other people ,especially in the business activities , it can be directly reflected .Sincere and respect for the first performance with some people :do not lie ,not hypocrisy ,do not insult people ,the so called “cheating once ,for life no friends.” also the practical reflection of business dealing . Sincere dedication, be fruitful harvest, only sincere respect for the two sides can be affiliated, friendship for a long time. (2) The principle of moderate equality In the social field ,ritual behavior is always expressed as the two sides ,for instance, if you treat your business guests sincerely and thoughtfully , others would

show the identical courteous respond to your hospitality ,and they would become the potential regular customers . If you performed impatiently and hasty ,there is no doubt that you would get the same response .The purposes of this protocol must emphasize the principle of equality, equal exchanges between the two parts, for equality is the foundation to establish emotion with other people. If you want to maintain a good interpersonal relationship with your business partners or your customers , you should locate modesty in the first place ,because it is the essential way to make more friends. Moderate principle requires us to measure the criteria of etiquette , in accordance with specific circumstance , specific situation and the exercise of the corresponding ritual .For instance ,when doing business with some people both warm and urbane are required ,one can not be rude and frivolous ,lively and modest ,but lethargic and sophisticated. (3) Self-confidence and self-discipline The principle of self-confidence is a mental health principle in the social occasion , especially in the commercial contact .Only someone is self-confident ,can he master things freely. Self-confidence is a very valuable psychological quality, people who have full confidence will not discourage when they encounter difficulties , on the contrary , they will counterattack when they are reduced to a rattrap, they are also willing to show their helping hand to people who are involved in jeopardy. People who are not confident enough will run into snags everywhere , even despair of their life . In the process of social interaction and business communication , establishing a sense of moral values and norms of self-cultivation in the mind to our behaviors .Achieving the balance of self education ,self management and self-confidence correctly , placing a rational and active attitude to fulfill the great obligation the life leaves us , refusing self-righteous and arrogant . Nothing great can be achieved without these traits. (4) honesty and tolerance Honesty stresses the principle of credibility , Confucius , a great philosopher , made the statement : people can?t live without credit , if you affiliate with your friends, honesty should be laid in the first place; Which also emphasize the principle of keeping promises. Trustworthiness is the virtue of the Chinese nation , in particular ,it is necessary to stress punctuality , and people should not delay when they go to the fixed appointments, meetings , talks and conferences, etc. One should not make promise so easily ,unless you are really sure about it ,or else you would end with a bad image of dishonest , especially in the business activity , honesty is of great importance . Tolerance is a great human thinking , the idea of tolerance is a magic weapon to create a harmonious interpersonal relationship in interpersonal exchanges .Tolerate others ,understand others and do not always pursue perfection. For a famous saying goes : failure is the mother of success . All in all ,if you consider things from others? position , I think you have found the best way to win friends ,to win business guests.


3. Comparison between Chinese and Western business etiquette
With the increasingly close business contacts , people? conduct in the business exchange reflected more frequently in the past ,the actions and manners in business interactions can be best and directly embodied during their communications ,therefore , learning and understanding the appropriate business behaviors between Chinese and foreigners become special significant .

3.1 Chinese etiquette in business occasion
Confucius, one of China's greatest thinker, established a system of ethics, morals, hierarchies and behaviors, setting the rules for people dealing with other people, and establishing each person's proper place in society, which have very profound influence in the interaction of our ancestors , especially in the field of business communications. 1)Chinese courtesies have always been formal to follow strict rules, although sometimes Chinese people seem to be impolite according to Western norms in public places. If you want to understand Chinese well and be more propitious in doing business with Chinese people , some behaviors should be especially noticed: When you first meet a Chinese person, they might seem unfriendly, but that is because they are taught to not show emotions in public, because it is thought to be unacceptable. Chinese like being formally introduced to a person by another person. When being introduced to a person, shake their hands. A smile, a wave, a nod, or a bow are good. At the same time kissing and hugging are bad. You can only do this when you are very familiar with that person . At your friend?s house you will be given tea automatically. If your friend asks you if you want tea, that probably means that they don?t want to serve you tea, but they want to seem hospitable. You should know what to do. When you leave your friend?s house, they will “see you off”, meaning that they will accompany you to your car, or elevator. When you get to know your friend very well, all formalities change, and they will say “ I wont be seeing you off “ and in turn you must quickly say ? That never crossed my mind!” Personal space varies from country to country. The Chinese have less personal space than the westerners, so if you find that they are really close, it is normal. You might step backward, but they might just take a close step. If you are in China, and pushed in a line, don?t feel bad, the Chinese aren?t use to standing in lines, and you aren?t required to be polite to strangers. Chinese don?t like when you point your index finger to point, use this only to call a person( use you open palm to point), snap fingers, and whistle. At the same time, westerners don?t like when you slurp your soup, or when you eat

and talk at the same time , Yet the Chinese don?t mind. Chinese consider gifts as an important part to show courtesy. It is appropriate to give gifts on occasions such as festival, birthday, wedding, or visiting a patient. If you are invited to a family party, small gifts like wine, tea, cigarettes, or candies are welcomed. Also fruit, pastries, and flowers are a safe choice. As to other things, you should pay a little attention to the cultural differences. Contrary to Westerners, odd numbers are thought to be unfortunate. So wedding gifts and birthday gifts for the aged are always sent in pairs for the old saying goes that blessings come in pairs. Though four is an even number, it reads like death in Chinese thus is avoided. So is pear for being a homophone of separation. And a gift of clock sounds like attending other's funeral so it is a taboo, too. As connected with death and sorrow, black and white are also the last in the choice. Gift giving is unsuitable in public except for some souvenirs, your good intentions or gratitude should be given priority to but not the value of the gifts, otherwise the receiver may mistake it for a bribe. To sum up, do in Rome as Rome does, but you need not worry about these cultural barriers, since most Chinese are hospitable and amiable and will not mind your nonproficiency. 2 ) What?s more, some other courteous actions always occurs in the communication ,which can be evidently embodied in business interaction. (1) Greetings and Introductions The Chinese usually do not like to do business with strangers, and will make frequent use of go-betweens. Whenever possible, try to use established relationships, or an intermediary known by both sides, to make the first contact .Chinese prefer to be formally introduced to someone new. This applies to both Chinese and foreigners. The Chinese may seem unfriendly when being introduced. They are taught not to show excessive emotion, thus the reference to Chinese and other Asians as inscrutable. Always stand up when being introduced and remain standing throughout the introductions. When being introduced to Chinese, the accepted form of greeting is the handshake, even among Chinese. Chinese may also nod or slightly bow (Unlike the Japanese, the Chinese bow from the shoulders rather than the waist). One would then present a business card. (2) Business Card Etiquette Use both hands when presenting business cards and be sure the writing faces the person to whom you are presenting your card. Cards should also be received with both hands. Do not immediately put the card in a pocket or bag-this is considered rude. Follow with the standard "I am pleased to meet you, or "ni hao" in Chinese. When seated, place cards on the table. This shows respect and is also an excellent way to remember names. Business cards should be printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Be sure to use simplified Chinese characters for China, not the classical characters used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. If traveling to China and Taiwan

or Hong Kong, it is a good idea to put the different cards in separate boxes to avoid mix-ups. Remember that China is the People's Republic of China and Taiwan is the Republic of China (3) Titles & Forms of Address The Chinese will state their last name first, followed by the given name (may be one or two syllables). For example, Liu Jianguo, in Chinese would be Mr. Jianguo Liu using the Western style. Never call someone by only his or her last name. Unless specifically asked, do not call someone by his or her first name. Addressing someone by his or her courtesy or professional title and last name conveys respect. In Chinese the name precedes the title. For example, Liu Xiansheng for Mr. Liu, and Liu Jingli for Manager Liu. Women's names cannot be distinguished from men's names. Chinese women use their maiden names even after marriage, but may indicate marital status by using Mrs., Ms, Miss, or Madam. Mrs. Wang might be married to Mr. Liu. Chinese who frequently deal with foreigners or travel abroad on business may adopt a Western first name, such as David Liu. They may request that they be referred to as David, once a relationship has been established. Do not use the term "comrade" in China. (4) Personal Questions & Compliments Do not be surprised when asked personal questions regarding age, marital status, children, family, income, job, etc. This is done to seek common ground. On the other hand, the Chinese will be uncomfortable with American familiarity, particularly early in a relationship. The arm around the shoulder or pat on the back with "just call me Bob" approach should be left at home. Unlike the Western custom, compliments are not graciously accepted with a "thank you," but rather with "not at all or it was nothing." Accepting and giving direct praise is considered poor etiquette. Do not be gushy with thank yous. (5) Social distance, Touching & Gestures Every culture defines proper distance. Westerners, particularly Americans, find that the Chinese comfort zone regarding distance is a bit to close for their comfort. Instinctively Westerners may back up when others invade their space. Do not be surprised to find that the Chinese will simply step closer. The Chinese do not like to be touched, particularly by strangers. Do not hug, back slap or put an arm around someone's shoulder. Do not be offended if you are pushed and shoved in a line. The Chinese do not practice the art of lining up and courtesy to strangers in public places is not required. People of the same sex may walk hand-in-hand as a gesture of friendship in China. Western gestures that are taboo in China include: 1) Pointing the index finger--use the open hand instead. 2) Using the index finger to call someone-use the hand with fingers motioning downward as in waving. 3) Finger snapping 4) Showing the soles of shoes. 5) Whistling is considered rude.

6) Chinese customs that are annoying to Westerners: 7) Belching or spitting on the street 8) Lack of consideration when smoking and failure to ask permission to smoke 9) Slurping food 10) Talking while eating (6) Dining and Entertainment Etiquette & Protocol Entertaining guests at a Chinese banquet is an important way of establishing guan xi. For more formal banquets, invitations will be sent and place cards will be at the table. Guests should sample all of the dishes and leave something on the plate at the end of the meal. A clean plate indicates you are still hungry and it is the host's responsibility to see that you are continually served food and drink. Under no circumstances should chopsticks be placed in the rice standing up. This symbolizes death. There are no firm rules regarding dinner conversation. Depending on the closeness of the relationship, business may or may not be discussed. Follow host's lead. Drinking is an important part of Chinese entertaining and is considered a social lubricant. The drinking officially begins after the host offers a short toast to the group. It is always a good idea for the guest to return the toast either right away or after a few courses have been served. Safe topics for toasts are friendship, pledges for cooperation, the desire to reciprocate the hospitality, and mutual benefit. The Chinese understand if you are unable to drink alcohol. Stating medical reasons is always a good way to get out of drinking alcohol. The most common expression for toasting is gan bei, meaning "dry cup", or bottoms up. The Chinese are not as understanding of tipsy guests as are the Japanese or Koreans. If you feel you have had enough, smile and politely indicate this to your host. Do not pour your own drink. It shows a lack of protocol. Do not underestimate the importance of participating in dining and after-dinner entertainment. It is an excellent way to build guanxi.

3.2 Western etiquette in business occasion
Some essential etiquette have been mentioned that most Chinese business people always abide by ,meanwhile ,I have also had some general idea between Chinese and western protocol ,here I will list some business behaviors of westerners?. (1) The etiquette of greeting and introductions Westerners always pay much attention to the first impressions when greeting, first impressions can make or break your chances of success. The way you make your greetings says just as much to your prospective partners or employers as does your dress, and if you err in your first greetings, you may never be able to recover. Introductions can be very difficult and awkward situations if not handled properly, but they are extremely important in all business situations. Remembering people's names is an art, and you should find your own ways to learn this art, but here are some rules that can make the first moments in your situation successful.


(2) Shaking hands Shaking Hands during the introductions can make all the difference to your future relationships. Not shaking hands is a very clear form of rejection and extremely insulting. In the United States, you should offer a firm handshake and make eye contact at the same time. The rules of a hand shake are few, but necessary: Always remember to stand when you are being introduced and when you shake hands. During cocktail parties, or casual gatherings, keep your right hand free as much as possible in order to shake hands. Extend you hand and grip the other person's hand so that the web of your thumb meets. Shake only a few times. Your grip should be firm, but not overpowering; you should absolutely avoid what is consider a wet fish" handshake. End the handshake cleanly before the introduction is complete. (3)Body Language Body Language is just as important as verbal language. At the times of introductions, and in all meetings thereafter, when standing, make certain you back is straight and firm and your head is held high and arms by your side or in front of you. Do not slouch, stick your belly out, put your hands in your pockets, or fold your arms. When sitting, again, keep your back straight, and your legs should be in front of you, with your knees together, or you legs should be crossed, either at the knees or at the ankles. DO NOT keep your legs spread apart in order to avoid giving off unconscious sexual signals. When being introduced while you are sitting, if at all possible, you should stand up and squarely face the person to whom you are being introduced before shaking hands. Head movements should be slight during your discussions. Nodding your head up and down slowly shows that you are listening and attentive, but too much nodding can appear silly. Shaking your head from side to side shows disapproval or disagreement. Again, use carefully. Compare with westerners ,our Chinese people much body language when communicating. (4)The Etiquette of Dining You are what you eat, according to an old American saying. For the rules of business etiquette, you are not only what you eat, but how you eat. Every society has its rules governing the all-important custom of breaking bread, and the United States is no exception. In the business worlds, breakfasts and lunches are usually the best times for business meals. Dinners are usually reserved for very special occasions or out-or-town guests. Occasionally, if you are hosting the meal, and your guest is staying at a local hotel, then an afternoon coffee and tea meeting in the hotel lobby can be very useful. If you are the host of a meal, you should follow a few important rules: In scheduling the meal, never ask the guest where they would like to eat. Instead, pick two restaurants, pick two different hours, and offer your guest those options. A day before the meal, check with your guest to confirm the date, time and location. (5) Business meeting In this day of the Internet and other communication miracles, many people have

come to believe that the business meeting has become a thing of the past. Don't believe it! Not only does important business get carried out at meetings, but perhaps most importantly, business meetings provide a meeting area where colleagues and potential business partners are give the opportunity to get to know one another. It is around the corporate conference table or in the board room that judgments are formed about each other. In other words, the rules of etiquette are no less important behind the doors of a meeting room as they are in a 5-star restaurant. In companies that minimize hierarchy, the seating arrangements at meetings are usually no big deal, but in more formal settings, and in more traditional companies, there are a few rules to consider when deciding where to sit: 1) Don't sit where the host or the most important attendee plans to sit, which is usually at the head of the table. 2) Don't sit directly to the right of the boss. This seat is usually reserved for the most important person or the boss's assistant. Be willing to be flexible. If the boss or a guest needs your chair, be prepared to move quickly and graciously. (6) The etiquette of gift giving You should be careful in the giving of gifts, never give a gift in a job interview or prior to a business meeting. Gifts are usually given during special holidays, or as thank yous" for special invitations or events. At the time of arriving to a special event or social gathering, you may present your gift to the host once the introductions are made. With gift giving, a few rules are in order: Be modest with your gift; do not buy expensive or extravagant gifts .Perishable gifts (a special food from your country, a bottle of wine, candy, flowers) are best if you do not personally know the host very well, but be certain that your gift will not require immediate attention. Your host will be very busy, and you should avoid adding another task to his or her evening. You can usually say something like, "I thought you would like this a little later" when you offer your gift. Be careful of giving alcohol; a bottle of wine is usually all right if you know your host drinks wine, but hard liquor (whisky, scotch, etc) should only be given as gifts only when you know the host and are certain that they would welcome such a gift; Flowers are good, but remember: roses are for personal relationships. Do Not Give roses. Cut flowers are nice if they are in a vase; A small cultural gift from your country is usually very appropriate .Make certain your gift is packaged nicely, with a nice card attached to it.

4 . Influencing factors of Chinese and western etiquette
4.1 Traditional viewpoints of Chinese people Under the influence of traditional viewpoint , Chinese people have their own understanding in the communication ,especially in the business interaction, which will

influence Chinese people?s behaviors in a certain degree, if you want to acquaint yourself with Chinese people , such concepts should not be ignored: (1) Mianzi (Face) /面子 The idea of shame, usually expressed as 'face' could be loosely defined as the 'status' or 'self-respect' in Chinese and by no means alien to foreigners. It is the worst thing for a Chinese to lose face. Never insult, embarrass, shame, yell at or otherwise demean a person. Since all these actions would risk putting a Chinese in a situation that he might lose face. Neither try to prove someone wrong nor shout at him in public. In order to get a successful effect without letting a Chinese lose face, any criticism should be delivered privately, discreetly and tactfully, or else, just opposite to what you wish. (2) Guanxi (Relationships between People) /关系 Throughout much of Chinese history, the fundamental glue that has held society together is the concept of guanxi, relationships between people. It is very important for the Chinese to have good relationships. They often regard good social relations as a symbol of personal ability and influence. Someone who has no connections would be despised and is only half-Chinese. (3) Keqi /客气 Keqi not only means considerate, polite, and well mannered, but also represents humbleness and modesty. It is impolite to be arrogant and brag about oneself or one's inner circle. The expression is most often used in the negative, as in buyao keqi, meaning "you shouldn't be so kind and polite to me," or "you're welcome." Besides, Chinese seldom express what they think directly and they prefer a roundabout way. Neither show their emotions and feelings in public. They rarely greet people with a handshake, though it is very popular among foreigners, say nothing of embracing or kissing when greeting or saying good-bye. Consequently, it is better not to behave too carefree in public, even though you are well-intentioned. Also, it is advisable to be fairly cautious in political discussions. Do not particularly push yourself forward, or else you are unwelcome. In society, there are social conventions and cultural traditions. To be a civilized member of the community, people have to follow all the social rules. The degree of politeness embodied in communication reflects the level of social civilization and national spirit. In communication, in order to achieve communicative goal, and enhance friendship, people do their best to consider others' benefit, avoid offences and misunderstandings, and to be polite. The etiquette concerned in the thesis mainly refers to linguistic politeness. It is widely accepted that linguistic politeness is a means of both establishing, maintaining, and if ignored, even terminating social relationships with other people. Politeness is a universal phenomenon. For instance, in China, when people meet, they may exchange uninformative views about whether the other side have eaten, that is unnecessary information. In Chinese culture background,

they are only greetings, i.e. the courteous acts performed to serve the function of social involvement. Under most circumstances, we interact politely so as to show our good intention, concerns, to start a conversation, and establish and maintain friendly and harmonious relationship, or to make compensation for what is being damaged. Politeness can also be regarded as a social constraint imposed by the conventions of the community. “ Sometimes we feel that we have to be polite in order to show that we are civilized and cultivated to such an extent that we know what to do to live up to the conventionally recognized social standards so that we will not be accused of being rude or ill-mannered." (He Zhaoxiong,1995). In a civilized society, people learn to be tolerant and conform with a kind of conventionalized social norms. The primary embodiment of cultural difference can be explicated as follows : 4-2 Modesty Maxim in Chinese Compliment Response In Chinese culture, people are required to be modest. Modesty is a virtue. Therefore, people whose mother tongue is Chinese usually hold a negative attitude towards “ compliment” or deny it directly by saying “ Not at all, not at all.” (哪里, 哪里。),or “ Just so-so.” ( 一般,一般. ). They observe the modesty maxim of Politeness Principle, and do their best to leave a good impression on the other side, even at the price of violating the quality maxim of Cooperative Principle to achieve the goal of speech interaction. If one accepts the compliment, he will be considered as “not to be modest”, and leave a bad impression on the other side. Westerners prefer to be direct and explicit. When they hear a compliment about themselves or people or thing on their side, they usually do not hide the feeling of joy. Therefore, while accepting praise or compliment, people of a English culture often convey their appreciation and go along with the other side, observing the agreement maxim of Politeness Principle and avoiding the embarrassment caused by disagreement. The ignorance of the differences between Chinese and English culture on this point, has ever lead to socio-pragmatic failure. A foreign teacher said to his Chinese student, “What a beautiful handwriting.” The Chinese student responded, “No, no, not at all. You are joking.” The foreign teacher, feeling puzzled, shrugged and left. Under the circumstance, the answer should be, “ Thank you.” It shows that people from different cultural background, lay emphasis on different maxims of Cooperative Principle and Politeness Principle. In intercultural speech interaction, without the knowledge of it, one side of the conversation sometimes will consider the other side intentionally violates Cooperative Principle, or whether he has something special to express. As a result, miscommunications arise. 4-3 Quantity and Manner Maxim in Accepting Invitation in English The mode of thinking in Chinese culture tends to be general and imprecise. In addition, compared with westerners, what has been shown in communication is that they habitually make indefinite and implicit answer. On the one hand, in Chinese traditional culture, people are required to be steady and implicit; on the other hand, Chinese pay much attention to feelings. Proceeding from human feelings, in their opinion, if the hearer understands them, and considers their interests and he will draw

inference from the implication of the speech; otherwise, it is unnecessary to express openly. In western culture, people are rational, and what they say tends to be definite and specific. In speech interaction, they expect both sides willingly observe the quantity maxim and manner maxim. It is not surprising for people from different cultural background to fail to achieve respective goals when they engage in following conversation. A Chinese scholar, visiting America, was invited by his supervisor to dinner at home. He continuously said, “Thank you.” And added, “All right, I?ll try to come.” What he said irritated the supervisor, he simply asked “yes or no”, but the scholar still said, “Thank you, I?ll try.” However, the American supervisor had no idea about whether the Chinese scholar had accepted his invitation or not. In Chinese culture, when invited, hearers have to give face to speakers (I?ll try…), observing the generosity maxim of politeness principle and the tact maxim. Chinese stress the quality of being implicit and never show attitude directly, at minimum, not show one?s attitude immediately. In western culture, people pay much attention to definition, so, in this case, the answer should be “Yes, I will.” or“No, thank you.” The Chinese scholar, when receives the invitation, proceeding from his own habit, and shows proper attitude which is tactful and appropriate in Chinese culture, but the language he uses is English, which represents a different culture from his. Therefore, it is hard for the American scholar to infer the implication from the Chinese scholar?s speech act from American cultural background—whether to come or not, whether to accept or not. From his point of view, the Chinese scholar violates the etiquette principle of cultural differences . 4-4 Collectivism and Individualism One of the major cultural value differences between the east and the west is that between collectivism and individualism, which has received consistent attention from many researchers. Numerous cross-cultural studies have provided theoretical and empirical evidence that the value orientations in a wide range of cultures. Individualism and collectivism can explain some of the basic differences concerning communication behavior between cultures. Basically, individualism refers to the broad value tendencies of a culture in emphasizing the importance of individual identity over group identity, individual rights over group rights, and individual needs over group needs. Individualism promotes self-efficiency, individual responsibilities and personal autonomy. In contrast, collectivism refers to the broad value tendencies of a culture in emphasizing the importance of the “we” identity over “I” identity, group rights over individual rights, and in-group-oriented needs over individual wants and desires. Collectivism promotes relational interdependence, in-group-harmony, and in-group collaborative spirits. A Chinese woman once talked with an American woman about her husband in a gathering, she said, “He is very short. He is ugly.” The American friend felt surprised when she heard these words. For Americans, these words means contempt for the husband. Although the rate of divorce has remains high and has no tendency to descend, husband and wife appreciate and praise each other as long as their

relationship as husband and wife exists (or even they have divorced). The individualism in western culture has displayed the feature that the integration of affection and interest between friends, or between relatives, or even between sweethearts occupy the equally important position. The different value orientation between the east and the west is apparently .

5. Effective methods to avoid misunderstandings in business interactions
Influencing factors of the differences between Chinese and western business etiquette had been listed above, which will lead us to find some effective methods to avoid the misunderstandings. This thesis mentioned the actions of business etiquette in the Chinese and western commercial activities, as well as contrasted Chinese protocol with western protocol. Therefore general differences between Chinese and western business activities was clear to us, Chinese and western etiquette are consistent in a large part, in addition to the fine difference caused by the cultural and geographical factors .That is to say , if you want to do the business more effectively and courteously with westerners ,besides knowing basic etiquette of international business practices, some other methods should also be used to avoid the misunderstandings in business interactions. 5.1 Comprehending the norms in business situation Business norms are consistent partly in international communication , therefore ,it is of great importance to learn some relevant principles in business etiquette , only understanding the international business protocol ,can we deal with the business affairs freely. In a long-term international exchanges, it has gradually developed a standardized protocol of Foreign Affairs, also called the foreign etiquette , which plays an important role in the international business Communication. it is a common practice, which stresses the characteristics of standardization ,object and technique(Jin Zhengkun 2003) , which we should comprehend and absorb in business field, especially in the international business stage. (1) Standardization Etiquette is a standardized ceremony which was formed and concluded in long-term social interaction ,it is because it?s preciseness and standardization that we can use it as the reference .therefore ,in the social exchanges and cooperation ,we can recognize and correct our behaviors spontaneously and promptly ,which make us get more respect when we carry out business activities .

(2) Object With the rapid development of the society , communities of business exchanges are on the rise , and the field extended quickly , which requires us have a comprehensive knowledge to complete it . Because of the cultural differences and geographical differences , business etiquette varies ,which require us to study the relevant provisions of the protocol at the same time , to understand the different business etiquette in different parts, in order to lay a sound foundation to do business with our customers. (3) Technique When we understand some relevant knowledge ,we?d better put it into practice flexibly ,meanwhile , in order to master the skills in the business activities , we should think over it and sum it up ,which make business etiquette efficient and standardized . With these useful and practical characteristics ,we should take them into consideration and attach great importance to them. Only we stressed the peculiarities of business etiquette ,can we do a even better job in business interactions.

5-2 Understanding the etiquette distinctions caused by different culture The fundamental problem, which must be solved in intercultural communication, is to find out the similarities and differences between the cultural elements of the two sides in communication. Although western and Chinese culture share some similarities, there are also great differences due to historical, geographical, political and economic distinctions, which have immediate influence upon the rules of language use. Therefore, both similarities and differences exist between western and Chinese pragmatic rules. Leech believes that pragmatic principles are basically commonly-shared, but their relative importance varies due to different cultures; some eastern cultures put more stress on modesty maxim than those in western countries. Comparative study of English and Chinese culture can facilitate to find out their respective characteristics, and facilitate to find out the general character from the superficially different business behaviors, and facilitate to find out the difference from the superficially similar business activities . if you can distinguish and understand the etiquette differences ,all other things will become easy .



Etiquette plays an important role in the success of business interactions. Many potentially worthwhile and profitable alliances have been lost because of an unintentional breach of manners. Business etiquette is made up of significantly more important things than knowing which fork to use at lunch with a client. Unfortunately, in the perception of others, the devil is in the details. People may feel that if you can't be trusted not to embarrass yourself in business and social situations, you may lack the self-control necessary to be good at what you do. Etiquette is about presenting yourself with the kind of polish that shows you can be taken seriously. Etiquette is also about being comfortable around people (and making them comfortable around you!) This thesis mainly tells us some principles of exchanging in business occasions, which would be beneficial to those who want to do business with people who from different areas and cultures ,meanwhile ,what you should remember is to be courteous and thoughtful to the people around you, regardless of the situation. Consider other people's feelings, stick to your convictions as diplomatically as possible. Address conflict as situation-related, rather than person-related. Apologize when you step on toes. You can't go too far wrong if you stick with the basics you learned in Kindergarten. (Not that those basics are easy to remember when you're in a hard-nosed business meeting!) With the development of society, the business relations are getting wider and wider. A variety of business contacts gradually formed a code of conduct and guidelines, which can help us survive in the society , coordinate human relations and human and social relations. It is also beneficial to promote communication and cooperation. The thesis will be helpful to us; especially to those who would like to engage themselves in international trade and business exchanges .


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