China has become a driving force in the world economy, yet East‐West cultural differences remain a problem area for many managers. This paper examines the importance of Confucianism in shaping societal values in China and how these values have affected the Chinese style of management. Confucian principles are extracted from the extant literature and used to explain the cultural underpinnings of Chinese leadership patterns, interpersonal behaviors and individual values. The longevity of Confucian influences throughout Chinese culture is a major factor in China’s resistance to Western management practices. There is also evidence that mainstream Confucian principles emphasizing teamwork, relationships and strong corporate cultures are gaining traction in the West. Future Western researchers should pay increased attention to East Asian philosophies and Asian‐based religions in their attempts to understand non‐Christian lifestyles and management methods.
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