Representations and Origins of the Cultural Differences Regarding Hierarchy Between Chinese and Japanese Employees in the Workplace



The views and outlooks of Chinese and Japanese employees regarding hierarchy in the workplace are not as similar as certain researchers in the field of interculturality may think. Through a series of over 50 in-depth interviews, this article illustrates that there is a big difference between how the Japanese insist on a strict hierarchical structure within a company and how Chinese employees demand equality, especially among young people. These cultural differences originate from the diverse histories behind the Chinese and Japanese cultures. Japanese culture is very hierarchical, as reflected in the family structure and the inheritance system. Chinese society, on the other hand, is just as hierarchical but less rigid, due to its different family system and the influence of the imperial examinations. 


Interculturality; Hierarchy; Corporate communication; China; Japan

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