Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between China & Morocco (Part 6/6): A Comprehensive Summary

We’re finally at the end of this series on Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between Moroccan and Chinese.


The Hofstede 6-D Model showed us that Chinese and Moroccan societies were both a success driven, hierarchical societies in which social norms prevail.

However, we diverge in three aspects:

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Richard Lewis gives us another approach to understand the cultural aspects of a society, and it gives us added insights into the Chinese and the Moroccan cultures:

Morocco’s cultural profile is more of a multi-active type, while Chinese culture falls into the reactive type.

Here is what I think you should keep in mind:

  • We, Moroccans, talk too much (verbally and physically), social life can become a burden to our professional life (or vice-versa), and we are impatient and have issues carrying out our plans from outline to process execution.
  • On the other, Chinese listen and don’t give you the chance to see their cards (the ultimate Poker Face right after the Japanese, that you could break when you get them drunk ;), also their social life complements their work environment as they start building their network since a very young age starting from their family (you definitly should check out this article on Guanxi to understand this aspect: Guanxi, or the rule of man that overrules the rule of law in China.).

It’s hard to catch, but let me give you an example:

My boss is a Chinese Woman, who have three schools: English school, Art School and a Kindergarden (she probably has more but this is as much as know).
As a foreigner, the moment you meet her, she would smile politely, listen and never interrupt nor even look at you in the eyes. You might think she is shy and you would wonder HOW THE HELL did she get to have so many successful businesses.
Well, the thing is that even if you do/say something she dislikes she will keep that polite smile and you wouldn’t know what she thinks about your behavior (remember, she just listens). She observes and acts on the basis of her analysis of your behavior and attitude.
Also, her businesses are built on the foundation of her network. You would meet her for lunch or for a drink and you will find her surrounded not only by the people she works with, but also her clients (business men who take classes at her english school or parents of kids from her schools). Her social and work life are simply interdependent; and one builds on the other.

The two cultural profiles are detailed in this article.


Now let’s get practical!

If, at each stage of the negotiation process, there is 1 thing that you should NEVER SKIP when it comes to negotiating with Chinese; here it is:

Pre-Negotiation phase:

In China, the entertainment phase is the core part of the pre-negotiation process. Accepting their invitations to Karaoke (KTV), going for a hike, or banquets gives them face; if you turn them down, they will loose face and see you as a cocky pretentious &#%!@!

Remember this: If you don’t start cultivating the relationship with your Chinese counterpart during the entertainment phase, they will BACK OFF!

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Negotiation phase:

One of the 36 stratagems that are used as proverbs Chinese learn since primary school, the 36th stipulates that “if all fails retreat” (走为上策, Zou wei shang ce).

Chinese usually avoid conflict either by complettly withdrawing from negotiation, staying silent, or not giving a determined answer to an issue at hand (“I don’t know” / “I’m not sure” may sometimes mean no actually).

But whatever conflict arises during the negotiation process, the relationship that you started to foster during the pre-negotiation stage will help you go through it smoothly and without giving rise to other conflicts.

Think of it as the “one call away” business negotiation conflict management approach.

The Negotiation phase is the main course, so I would advise you to read more in this article. there are some pretty fascinating facts that you would enjoy reading.

Post-Negotiation phase:

Either in Morocco or in China, signing a contract does not immune a business deal from failure; a contract is still negotiable and its terms changeable. Relationship is key to get the best of a business deal.

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End of the story.

When you take the gist of the 5 previous articles I wrote on Negotiation with these two business cultures -that are different and also similar in some aspects- you can see a clear PATTERN:

Relationship is key.

To end this article, I want you to keep in mind this piece of wisdom that I’ve got from Tai Lopez:

Most of the deals that the richest men in the Forbes list make are negotiated face-to-face, while developing a relationship with your business partners.

Warren Buffet deals in finance but he goes to all board meetings!

Donald Trump deals in real estate but most of his deals, if not all of them, are dealt with face-to-face.

How does it relate to this Business Culture?

You’re smart enough if you got yourself to negotiate a business deal, smart enough as a human being to take the time to observe the people you’re dealing with and act accordingly.

I could write a book about this, you could read books about it. But whatever knowledge you acquire won’t be valuable until you experiment with it.

One last thing… an important thing, actually: This article is meant to show you to what extent nuances between cultures could make a difference in a business context.

Change you paradigm. Take it from here and OBSERVE, ANALYZE, AND INTERPRET. ;)

Drop me line on Twitter or on Facebook if you want more details about one of these aspects ;)
For more check out:
Part1: Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between China & Morocco (Part 1/6): According to the Hofstede 6-D Model
Part2: Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between China & Morocco (Part 2/6): Lewis got something to tell ya’
Part3: Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between China & Morocco (Part 3/6): A Practical Perspective on the Pre-Negotiation Phase
Part4: Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between China & Morocco (Part 4/6): A Practical Perspective on the Negotiation Phase
Part5: Similarities and Differences in Business Culture between China & Morocco (Part 5/6): A Practical Perspective on the Post-Negotiation Phase