Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Assessing The Confucianism On Relationships Cultural Studies Essay

Assessing The Confucianism On Relationships Cultural Studies Essay Confucianism has been the main foundation of traditional thought that is deeply rooted in Chinese society. Confucianism is ethical teachings rather than a religion as described in Western literatures. Confucianism is widely regarded as the behavioral or moral regulations that are mainly concerned with human relationships, social structures, virtuous behavior and work ethics. In Confucianism, rules are specified for the social behavior of every individual, governing the entire range of interpersonal relations within the society. The core virtues of Confucius basic teaching can be extracted as Ren (Humanity), Yi (Righteousness), Li (Propriety), Zhi (Wisdom) and Xin (Faithfulness). According to Confucius, each person had a specific place in society, certain rules to follow and certain duties to fulfill. Confucius hoped that if people knew what was expected of them they would behave accordingly. He, therefore, set up Five Cardinal Relations, in which most people are involved, moreover h e also laid down the principles for each relation. These can be illustrated as follows: Basic Human Relations Principles Sovereign and subject (master and follower) Loyalty and duty Father and son Love and obedience Elder and younger brothers Seniority and modeling subject Husband and wife Obligation and submission Friend and friend Trust Source: Fan, 2000 All of these five, except the last, involve the authority of one person over another. Power and the right to rule belong to superiors over subordinates. Each person has to give obedience and respect to his/her ‘superiors’; the subject to his/her ruler, the wife to her husband, the son to his parents, and the younger brother to the older brother. The ‘superior’, however, owes loving responsibility to the subordinates. These relationships are structured to generate optimal benefits for both parties, and the principles are laid to achieve a harmonious society (Fan, 2000). Among these five basic human relatio ns, three are family relations, which show strong family-orientation in the Chinese society. Such a characteristic when applied to organizational management, leads to the birth of a parternalistic management style in Chinese society (Hsiao, et al., 1990). As China is a high context culture (Hall, 1976) and places much emphasis on Confucianism, relationships within the Chinese society have been explained in terms of harmony, hierarchy, and development of morality and kinship (Shenkar and Ronen, 1987). Defining Guanxi Under the impact of Confucianism, China is a nation whose social relationships are neither individual-based nor society-based, but typically a relationship-based society (Liang, 1974), in which almost everyone tries to maintain Guanxi. Guanxi, which literally means social relationship or social connection, is a prevalent cultural phenomenon that has strong implications for interpersonal and interorganisational dynamics in Chinese society. The concept of Guanxi is enormou sly rich, complex and dynamic (Yang, 2001). In English as well as Chinese, it can be defined at various levels and from different perspectives. Chen and Chen (2004) argue that rather than social networks or interpersonal relationships found in the Western literature, Guanxi should be viewed as an indigenous Chinese construct and should be defined as an informal, particularistic personal connection between two individuals who are bounded by an implicit psychological contract to follow the social norms as maintaining a long-term relationship, mutual commitment, loyalty, and obligation.

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