Beyond Simplifications: Making Sense of Paradoxical Chinese Values in Chinese-Western Business Negotiations

Marleen Spijkman*, Menno D.T. de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

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Previous research has drawn attention to the coexistence of paradoxical Chinese values in modern China, which might influence Chinese-Western business negotiations. In this study, we empirically investigate this phenomenon from the perspective of Western business negotiators. In two interview rounds, 17 seasoned Dutch negotiators were asked about their experiences when negotiating with Chinese business partners. The results confirm the coexistence of paradoxical Chinese values in business negotiations and identify four patterns in which traditional and modern values may occur: random, contextual, transitional, and simultaneous occurrence. On the basis of our findings, we argue that there is a need for Western negotiators to develop a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and paradoxical values from the Chinese worldview of Yin and Yang.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 5 Mar 2020



  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • China
  • cross-cultural communication
  • cultural differences
  • paradoxical values
  • Yin and Yang
  • business negotiations

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