International Journal of Business and Social Science
Vol. 3 No. 11; June 2012
Cross-Cultural Values Comparison between Chinese and Sub-Saharan Africans
Jean Pierre MIAHOUAKANA MATONDO
PhD Student in Business Administration
Glorious Sun School of Business and Management, Donghua University
1882, Yan’an Road, Shanghai
With a Sino-African trade growing at 40% a year and a steadily growing economy above 5% in Africa are
challenging Chinese companies and individual Chinese businessmen to reassess broad stereotypes and
globalization strategies in this continent. This paper reviews a comparative analysis of fundamental values and
interpersonal relations between ...view middle of the document...
Needless to say that the wrong understanding and inappropriate handling cultural differences
can usually cause organizational conflicts and may cause severe inefficiencies and competitive disadvantages.
There is no “one” African culture or society, as it exists in many people’s mind. Africa is vast, comprised 54
independent nations, 1, 02 billion people, and over 3,000 ethnic groups speaking more than 1,000 indigenous
languages—in addition to the six European languages (French, English, Portuguese, German, Spanish, and Italian)
carried over from prior colonization. Sub-Saharan Africa is culturally complex and commonly referred to as
“black” Africa. Certainly, they share many cultural backgrounds that have been carried for centuries, but with
enormous variations. For example, Congo is not Togo and Togo is not Rwanda, those differences exist not only
among countries as well as within countries. These common beliefs and core cultural values transcend national
boundaries, languages, and ethnicities and form a fundamental cultural unit. It is vital that expatriate managers
have a basic knowledge of cross-cultural differences and allegations from their host countries.
It is undeniable that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, and on a global scale there
is a growing recognition of Africa as a major destination with vast stores of untapped opportunity, proven oil reserves, and critically important mineral resources, such as gold, diamonds, chromium, copper, wood, etc. Besides,
with a Sino-African trade growing at 40% a year, African steadily growing economy over 5%, there is an
undeniable sense that over the next decades Africa is positioned to take its place in the global economy. These
figures are challenging Chinese companies and individual Chinese businessmen to reassess broad stereotypes and
globalization strategies. Today, there is about a thousand of Chinese companies have been relocated to Africa in
factories and farms, retail shops, mining, oil exploration as well as construction.
© Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA
However, according to Herbert Jauch (2009) reports on the working conditions among Chinese companies in
Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe; researchers
found a “common trait” of the Chinese companies being “among the worst employers everywhere”. Thus, it is
important to understand whether it is just a question of cross-cultural misunderstanding within these companies or
they are based on other external factors. Numerous studies have been published about Chinese investments in
Africa, but not yet or quite few on the Sino-African cross-cultural values and Human Resource Management
(HRM) outlooks, which constitutes an important research gap and justifies the present study. As mentioned above,
in addition to its ancestral culture, while Africans have been influenced by Occidental civilizations...