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Digital Differences: The Dissimilar Technological Practices in the Workplace in the US and China / 数字化差异:中美办公场所的不同技术惯例


Author: Natalie Sammarco
Date: February 17, 2014

Digital Differences: The Dissimilar Technological Practices in the Workplace in the US and China

Cultural exchange is one of the best parts about doing business across borders and in different countries. There are many different types of cultural exchange that are positive, and then again there are some that are more challenging. Navigating the challenging cultural differences doesn’t have to be rocket science, but do not make the mistake of thinking every accidental cultural faux pas will be regarded with lighthearted joviality.

The digital age has given birth to a new subset of cultural differences, especially between the US and China. On the surface, these exchanges are an interesting look into how each culture has developed different relationships with, comparably, the same technology. Both countries have smartphones, texting, and email, but the cultural practices using these conveniences is not the same. The US has a more formal approach to ‘office language’ and sees quick and fast communication as a form of respect to the opposing party. In China, it is not the same. Understanding these differences will give any company an edge on how to adjust expectations to the Chinese culture when concerning digital practices, which will undoubtedly help in bridging cultural differences to get to the meat of correspondence: business.

I. The Basics

Many professionals in the US are capable of naming the do’s and don’ts at work in the US, but it serves a purpose to name a couple here for the purpose of background:

• DO use professional form writing emails
• DON’T use your work email for personal correspondence regarding non-work activities or extra- curricular activities.
• DO make sure not to use Web 2.0 abbreviations (e.g. LOL, ROFL, JK)
• DO make sure that when you’re writing an email you keep in mind you’re a representative of the company for which you work. Use appropriate language that you’d be okay with your boss seeing

These basics to a successful online office presence are well known but often forgotten. It never hurts to remind employees that messages sent via company email addresses are subject to the surveillance of the company and could be read at any time. Many email servers have the capability to monitor employee emails and this is a deterrent for erratic and inappropriate sending of messages to unaffiliated parties.

Yet, one can be an office-whiz with the company email address while still using his or her personal electronic devices at work. The type of digital communication that is available to both the US and Chinese professionals are quite similar. Largely, citizens of both countries can logon to personal email accounts, text from personals phones, and use social media throughout the day. This could eventually affect performance but is quite common in today’s workplace, especially since many people use phones and tablets as clocks, alarms, and calendars.

Regarding digital devices, there is a huge split in the market between two main operating systems. This begins with the question, “Do you use Windows or Mac?” Although this may seem like a question of mere personal preference, when doing business between China and the US, it can become an interesting topic. In both countries, Mac/Apple devices are hip. Yet, in China, owning an Apple product is not only a point of personal choice, but also an expression of status. Since Apple devices are subject to taxation, which are unlike those in the US, having a MacBookPro, MacBookAir or any ‘iDevice’ could be a point of pride for a Chinese person, especially if it is the newest product available.

Given this, one can expect that Apple products are much more prevalent in the US and much more widely used than in China. Some schools in the US have laptop programs that are wholly Mac-based, due to rebates incentives by the company. But is this a crime? Not so much, since Apple software is touted as being easier to use (CITATION) and experiences fewer problems (CITATION). In China, though, Microsoft (PC) and Windows systems are still very much in charge of the market. One should remember, Mac is merely one brand, which has a significant part of the market for one company, but it’s not as significant when compared to the hundreds of companies that provide software for PC/Windows systems. As a company doing business in China, it’s important to realize that the universality of Apple devices and computers in the US does not stretch across all borders and definitely does not cross over into the business world. This could pose a challenge if one expects Chinese counterparts to be able to navigate the same devices with such ease. The take away is that Apple products are popular, but they are not as widely used in the workplace.

II. Digital Etiquette:

The differences in digital etiquette between China and the US can pose a challenge when trying to communicate across oceans or boardroom tables. Highlighting differences between how US citizens use mobile phones, texting, and email, as opposed to their Chinese counterparts, will lead to better understanding of both cultures. Since clear communication in both actions and words is the key in many business deals, it can never hurt to be more aware of other country’s digital etiquette.

Mobile phones

• In the US, one usually does not have his or her mobile phone out and on the table during meetings. When phones are visible and on the table, they are on silent or vibrate if no special circumstances arise (i.e. expecting a call during the meeting)
• In China, to have the phone out in a meeting is completely acceptable. Also, it is acceptable to answer this phone when it rings, usually not on silent or vibrate, even if the owner of the phone does not know the number that is calling. There have been times where the person in charge of the meeting has picked up a phone call just to say that he is in the meeting. In this case, it is not considered being rude to answer the call, but merely cultural acceptance. Do not be offended if this happens.

Texting

• Texting is the most convenient and simple way to communicate in China. In the US, it can be seen as a flip and unprofessional way to communicate but this is not the case in China. The preference for using texting as a way of communicating could be why one can expect long stretches of time between email correspondences. A Chinese person will oftentimes send a text to say that he or she has sent you an email, to make sure you check your email. This is because email is not a priority, especially the way it is in the West. Chinese people have the capability to check their email on smartphones, but culturally, they just do not do it often and it could be days before they see an email that could have been of great importance.
• Since texting is so important for communication, this emphasizes the importance of having a local American employee or contact on the ground in China to engage in follow up correspondence. Without this contact located in China, the Chinese company could feel that it is not important or convenient to keep regular communication lines open.

Email

When it comes to correspondence, many Chinese are succinct and not as timely as US counterparts.
• Succinct: Correspondence is very short in Chinese emails. Many times, the brevity of the email could be considered rude. A quick “Okay”, “Yes”, or “No” is enough of an answer in the Chinese professional world, whereas in the US, this response would be considered curt and unthoughtful. Culturally speaking, this is not rude in China and if someone at a US company receives and email like this, it should not be seen as disregarding the business relationship at all. It’s just a culturally acceptable to write very short, one-word emails in China.
• Timely: When emailing a Chinese company, one should not be aghast if he or she receives a response weeks later or not at all. The bottom line is to keep emailing and emphasize the need for a response, or, as discussed above, have someone on the ground in China to contact the company directly from China via text or telephone. Not all Chinese companies regard email with such a lackadaisical attitude, but knowing that this situation can occur will better prepare professionals and companies in the US for what expectations they should have for their counterparts in China. In this regard, employees of US companies should not let their own correspondence practices fall by the wayside because Chinese counterparts do not respond right away. If a company is used to quick communication, make sure those expectations are adjusted when working with a Chinese company.
• That said, when a Chinese person or company wishes to be timely, they are. For example, when setting up meetings, it is common for a Chinese person or company to set up a business meeting within a couple days of the correspondence. Obviously, this is only the case if the two parties are in the same place, able to meet. Many Chinese people and companies do not arrange their calendars as far as weeks in advance with regard to business meetings. If correspondence is made on a Monday about setting up a meeting, the Chinese person could suggest that the meeting be held as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday of the same week.

Despite all the cultural differences with digital etiquette that lie between the US and China, one should not let these differences pose an insurmountable barrier between possible business partners. Many US companies conduct business in China with immense success and vice versa. The most important part is to remember that placing the expectations of one’s own country on citizens of another country will cause confusion or dissatisfaction. This does not mean one shows lower standards of business practices, but rather that one should expect Chinese citizens to have habits unlike those of Americans. Since the 21st century is steeped in near-irremovable technology, finding out more about the digital practices in China and the US is crucial for companies wishing to conduct business on either side of the ocean.

Writer: Natalie Sammarco, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14

作者:Natalie Sammarco
2014年02月17号

数字化差异:中美办公场所的不同技术惯例

数字化差异:中美办公场所的不同技术惯例

文化交流是跨国界和在不同国家经营的最好的部分之一。很多不同的文化交流类型是正面的,也有一些类型颇具挑战性。处理好有挑战的文化差异不是一件很困难的事,但不应错误地认为每次偶然的文化失礼都会被认为是轻松愉快的。

特别是在中美两国之间,数字时代产生了文化差异的新子集。表面上,观察和比较两国文化如何就同种技术发展出不同的关系非常有趣。两个国家都有智能手机,短信和电子邮件,但是使用这些工具的文化惯例不尽相同。美国对“办公室语言”的处理更正式,并将迅速快捷的沟通视为对对方的尊重。在中国情况则不相同。理解这些差异会给予公司一个优势,即如何对中国文化的数字化惯例调整预期,这毫无疑问会帮助公司消除文化差异以得到沟通的结果:生意。

I. 基本原则

很多美国的职业人士能说出在美国工作时的行为规范,下面的几项是为了提供背景。
·写邮件需要使用正式格式
·不要将工作邮件作为私人通信方式
·确保不要使用Web 2.0缩写(比如LOL, ROFL, JK)
·在写邮件时确保记住你代表你所供职的公司。使用你的上级认为合适的语言
这些确保成功的线上办公的基本原则众所周知但常常被遗忘。提醒员工通过公司邮箱发送的信息会受到公司监控并无坏处。很多邮件服务器能够监视员工邮件,这对向非关联方发送奇怪或不合适的消息可以起到震慑作用。
然而,员工可以在使用公司邮件地址的同时使用他或她的私人电子设备而成为会钻空子的办公室奇才。这种电子通讯方式的可得性对中国和美国的职业人士很相似。大部分情况下,两国的都可以在整天使用私人手机登陆个人电子邮件账户,通过私人手机发送信息和使用社交媒体。这可能会最终影响工作表现,但这在现今工作场合非常常见,特别是由于很多人使用手机和平板作为时钟,闹钟和日历。
对于电子设备,对市场两大主流操作系统的使用差别很大。这始于一个问题“你是使用Windows还是Mac操作系统?”尽管这看上去仅仅是个人偏好问题,但在中国和美国经营时这成为了一个有意思的话题。在两国使用Mac/苹果设备都很时尚。然而在中国,拥有苹果产品不仅仅是个人选择,也是身份的表达。由于在中国苹果设备需交纳更多的税收,和美国不一样的是拥有MacBookPro, MacBookAir或者任何“i设备”对中国人可能意味着自豪感,特别是如果是市场上最新的设备。
基于这点,人们可以预期苹果产品在美国比中国使用得更广泛。在美国由于苹果公司提供的折扣机制,有些学校的笔记本项目全部使用Mac。这有错吗?不一定,这是由于苹果设备宣称更容易使用和故障更少。在中国,微软(PC)和Windows操作系统仍然控制市场。人们需要记住Mac只是一个品牌,一个公司市场的重要组成部分, 但重要性不如有上百家公司为其提供软件的PC/Windows系统。在中国经营时,公司意识到苹果设备和电脑在美国的普及性并不延伸到所有国家或商业社会这点十分重要。因而如果人们预期中国伙伴能够很轻松使用同样的设备可能会遇到挑战。这里要说的是苹果设备很流行,但在办公场所并不那么普及。

II. 电子交流礼节

中国和美国的电子交流礼节的差别给跨洋和跨会议桌交流带来了挑战。强调中国人和美国人在使用移动电话、短信和邮件的差异加深对双方文化的礼节。鉴于清楚的行为和语言沟通在很多生意中至关重要,多了解其他国家的电子交流礼节没有坏处。

移动电话

·在美国,在开会时人们一般不将他或她的手机拿出来摆在桌上。如果手机被放在桌上,一般会将其调成静音或震动模式(例如开会时在等一个电话)
·在中国,在开会时将手机拿出来是完全可以接受的。同样,一般手机不会被调成静音或震动模式,当电话铃声响起时去接听也是可以接受的,即使手机主人并不知道打来的电话号码。有时会议主持人也会接电话并说他正在开会。这种情况下接电话并不是无礼,而仅仅是文化接受程度的问题。发生这样的事情请不要觉得是被冒犯了。

短信

·短信在中国是最方便简单的交流方式。在美国短信被视为轻率和不专业的沟通方式,但在中国情况则不一样。偏好将短信作为交流方式的原因可能是人们预期电子邮件的回复周期较长。一个中国人经常会发短信告诉你他或她已经给你发了邮件,让你注意查收。这是因为电子邮件不是优先处理的事,这跟西方恰恰相反。中国人能够在智能手机上查看电子邮件,但是由于文化的原因他们并不经常这么做,所以他们有时会在几天后才看到重要的邮件。
·由于短信对沟通如此重要,这强调了有本地美国员工或者联系人在中国境内保持后续通信的重要性。如果没有在中国境内的联系人,中国公司可能会认为长期保持沟通渠道畅通不重要或不方便。

电子邮件

对于通信,很多中国人比较简洁,也没有美国人那么及时。

·简洁:中国的电子邮件通信很短。很多时候,邮件简洁到甚至会被认为是粗鲁的。在中国职场,一个快速的“好的”,“是”或者“不”邮件回复已经足够了。而在美国这样的回复会被认为过于草率而未经深思。从文化上来讲,在中国这不是粗鲁的行为,美国公司如果收到这样的邮件并不应该将其视为对商业关系的不重视。在中国写很短的,只有一个单词的邮件在文化上是可以接受的。
·及时:发邮件给一个中国公司时,几周后收到邮件或者根本没有回复请不要被吓到。不论怎样你应该继续发邮件并强调需要回复,或者如上文提到的保持有在中国境内的联系人以直接从中国以短信或邮件的方式联系对方公司。并不是所有的中国公司都以散漫的态度对待电子邮件,但了解该情况会发生可以使美国的职业人士和公司更好的调整对其中国合作伙伴的预期。就这一点而言,美国公司员工不应由于其中国合作伙伴不立即回复而放弃自身的沟通惯例。如果一个公司习惯于快速沟通,和中国公司合作时应该调整其预期。
·这就是说,当中国人或公司希望及时的时候,他们会很迅速。例如,中国人或公司在沟通的几天内安排好会议很常见。显然这只能在双方都能见面的情况下才能发生。很多中国人和公司并不提前几周安排好商务会议。如果周一进行了关于商务会议的沟通,中国人可能会建议在同一周的周二或者周三就进行会议。

尽管中美之间在数字化礼节上有很多的文化差异,人们不应让这些差异成为潜在商业伙伴之间不可逾越的障碍。很多美国公司在中国的业务非常成功,反之亦然。要记住的最重要的是将对自己国家公司或个人的预期放在其他国家伙伴身上会造成困惑和不满。这并不意味着一个人表现出较低的商业惯例的标准,而是你预期到中国人的习惯和美国人不一样。由于二十一世纪深处几乎不能移动的技术中,加深对中美之间数字化惯例的差异的了解对希望在大洋两岸经营的公司都很关键。

作者:Natalie Sammarco,中美中心国硕士2014

Author: Natalie Sammarco
Date: February 17, 2014

Digital Differences: The Dissimilar Technological Practices in the Workplace in the US and China

Cultural exchange is one of the best parts about doing business across borders and in different countries. There are many different types of cultural exchange that are positive, and then again there are some that are more challenging. Navigating the challenging cultural differences doesn’t have to be rocket science, but do not make the mistake of thinking every accidental cultural faux pas will be regarded with lighthearted joviality.

The digital age has given birth to a new subset of cultural differences, especially between the US and China. On the surface, these exchanges are an interesting look into how each culture has developed different relationships with, comparably, the same technology. Both countries have smartphones, texting, and email, but the cultural practices using these conveniences is not the same. The US has a more formal approach to ‘office language’ and sees quick and fast communication as a form of respect to the opposing party. In China, it is not the same. Understanding these differences will give any company an edge on how to adjust expectations to the Chinese culture when concerning digital practices, which will undoubtedly help in bridging cultural differences to get to the meat of correspondence: business.

I. The Basics

Many professionals in the US are capable of naming the do’s and don’ts at work in the US, but it serves a purpose to name a couple here for the purpose of background:

• DO use professional form writing emails
• DON’T use your work email for personal correspondence regarding non-work activities or extra- curricular activities.
• DO make sure not to use Web 2.0 abbreviations (e.g. LOL, ROFL, JK)
• DO make sure that when you’re writing an email you keep in mind you’re a representative of the company for which you work. Use appropriate language that you’d be okay with your boss seeing

These basics to a successful online office presence are well known but often forgotten. It never hurts to remind employees that messages sent via company email addresses are subject to the surveillance of the company and could be read at any time. Many email servers have the capability to monitor employee emails and this is a deterrent for erratic and inappropriate sending of messages to unaffiliated parties.

Yet, one can be an office-whiz with the company email address while still using his or her personal electronic devices at work. The type of digital communication that is available to both the US and Chinese professionals are quite similar. Largely, citizens of both countries can logon to personal email accounts, text from personals phones, and use social media throughout the day. This could eventually affect performance but is quite common in today’s workplace, especially since many people use phones and tablets as clocks, alarms, and calendars.

Regarding digital devices, there is a huge split in the market between two main operating systems. This begins with the question, “Do you use Windows or Mac?” Although this may seem like a question of mere personal preference, when doing business between China and the US, it can become an interesting topic. In both countries, Mac/Apple devices are hip. Yet, in China, owning an Apple product is not only a point of personal choice, but also an expression of status. Since Apple devices are subject to taxation, which are unlike those in the US, having a MacBookPro, MacBookAir or any ‘iDevice’ could be a point of pride for a Chinese person, especially if it is the newest product available.

Given this, one can expect that Apple products are much more prevalent in the US and much more widely used than in China. Some schools in the US have laptop programs that are wholly Mac-based, due to rebates incentives by the company. But is this a crime? Not so much, since Apple software is touted as being easier to use (CITATION) and experiences fewer problems (CITATION). In China, though, Microsoft (PC) and Windows systems are still very much in charge of the market. One should remember, Mac is merely one brand, which has a significant part of the market for one company, but it’s not as significant when compared to the hundreds of companies that provide software for PC/Windows systems. As a company doing business in China, it’s important to realize that the universality of Apple devices and computers in the US does not stretch across all borders and definitely does not cross over into the business world. This could pose a challenge if one expects Chinese counterparts to be able to navigate the same devices with such ease. The take away is that Apple products are popular, but they are not as widely used in the workplace.

II. Digital Etiquette:

The differences in digital etiquette between China and the US can pose a challenge when trying to communicate across oceans or boardroom tables. Highlighting differences between how US citizens use mobile phones, texting, and email, as opposed to their Chinese counterparts, will lead to better understanding of both cultures. Since clear communication in both actions and words is the key in many business deals, it can never hurt to be more aware of other country’s digital etiquette.

Mobile phones

• In the US, one usually does not have his or her mobile phone out and on the table during meetings. When phones are visible and on the table, they are on silent or vibrate if no special circumstances arise (i.e. expecting a call during the meeting)
• In China, to have the phone out in a meeting is completely acceptable. Also, it is acceptable to answer this phone when it rings, usually not on silent or vibrate, even if the owner of the phone does not know the number that is calling. There have been times where the person in charge of the meeting has picked up a phone call just to say that he is in the meeting. In this case, it is not considered being rude to answer the call, but merely cultural acceptance. Do not be offended if this happens.

Texting

• Texting is the most convenient and simple way to communicate in China. In the US, it can be seen as a flip and unprofessional way to communicate but this is not the case in China. The preference for using texting as a way of communicating could be why one can expect long stretches of time between email correspondences. A Chinese person will oftentimes send a text to say that he or she has sent you an email, to make sure you check your email. This is because email is not a priority, especially the way it is in the West. Chinese people have the capability to check their email on smartphones, but culturally, they just do not do it often and it could be days before they see an email that could have been of great importance.
• Since texting is so important for communication, this emphasizes the importance of having a local American employee or contact on the ground in China to engage in follow up correspondence. Without this contact located in China, the Chinese company could feel that it is not important or convenient to keep regular communication lines open.

Email

When it comes to correspondence, many Chinese are succinct and not as timely as US counterparts.
• Succinct: Correspondence is very short in Chinese emails. Many times, the brevity of the email could be considered rude. A quick “Okay”, “Yes”, or “No” is enough of an answer in the Chinese professional world, whereas in the US, this response would be considered curt and unthoughtful. Culturally speaking, this is not rude in China and if someone at a US company receives and email like this, it should not be seen as disregarding the business relationship at all. It’s just a culturally acceptable to write very short, one-word emails in China.
• Timely: When emailing a Chinese company, one should not be aghast if he or she receives a response weeks later or not at all. The bottom line is to keep emailing and emphasize the need for a response, or, as discussed above, have someone on the ground in China to contact the company directly from China via text or telephone. Not all Chinese companies regard email with such a lackadaisical attitude, but knowing that this situation can occur will better prepare professionals and companies in the US for what expectations they should have for their counterparts in China. In this regard, employees of US companies should not let their own correspondence practices fall by the wayside because Chinese counterparts do not respond right away. If a company is used to quick communication, make sure those expectations are adjusted when working with a Chinese company.
• That said, when a Chinese person or company wishes to be timely, they are. For example, when setting up meetings, it is common for a Chinese person or company to set up a business meeting within a couple days of the correspondence. Obviously, this is only the case if the two parties are in the same place, able to meet. Many Chinese people and companies do not arrange their calendars as far as weeks in advance with regard to business meetings. If correspondence is made on a Monday about setting up a meeting, the Chinese person could suggest that the meeting be held as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday of the same week.

Despite all the cultural differences with digital etiquette that lie between the US and China, one should not let these differences pose an insurmountable barrier between possible business partners. Many US companies conduct business in China with immense success and vice versa. The most important part is to remember that placing the expectations of one’s own country on citizens of another country will cause confusion or dissatisfaction. This does not mean one shows lower standards of business practices, but rather that one should expect Chinese citizens to have habits unlike those of Americans. Since the 21st century is steeped in near-irremovable technology, finding out more about the digital practices in China and the US is crucial for companies wishing to conduct business on either side of the ocean.

Writer: Natalie Sammarco, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14


作者:Natalie Sammarco
2014年02月17号

数字化差异:中美办公场所的不同技术惯例

数字化差异:中美办公场所的不同技术惯例

文化交流是跨国界和在不同国家经营的最好的部分之一。很多不同的文化交流类型是正面的,也有一些类型颇具挑战性。处理好有挑战的文化差异不是一件很困难的事,但不应错误地认为每次偶然的文化失礼都会被认为是轻松愉快的。

特别是在中美两国之间,数字时代产生了文化差异的新子集。表面上,观察和比较两国文化如何就同种技术发展出不同的关系非常有趣。两个国家都有智能手机,短信和电子邮件,但是使用这些工具的文化惯例不尽相同。美国对“办公室语言”的处理更正式,并将迅速快捷的沟通视为对对方的尊重。在中国情况则不相同。理解这些差异会给予公司一个优势,即如何对中国文化的数字化惯例调整预期,这毫无疑问会帮助公司消除文化差异以得到沟通的结果:生意。

I. 基本原则

很多美国的职业人士能说出在美国工作时的行为规范,下面的几项是为了提供背景。
·写邮件需要使用正式格式
·不要将工作邮件作为私人通信方式
·确保不要使用Web 2.0缩写(比如LOL, ROFL, JK)
·在写邮件时确保记住你代表你所供职的公司。使用你的上级认为合适的语言
这些确保成功的线上办公的基本原则众所周知但常常被遗忘。提醒员工通过公司邮箱发送的信息会受到公司监控并无坏处。很多邮件服务器能够监视员工邮件,这对向非关联方发送奇怪或不合适的消息可以起到震慑作用。
然而,员工可以在使用公司邮件地址的同时使用他或她的私人电子设备而成为会钻空子的办公室奇才。这种电子通讯方式的可得性对中国和美国的职业人士很相似。大部分情况下,两国的都可以在整天使用私人手机登陆个人电子邮件账户,通过私人手机发送信息和使用社交媒体。这可能会最终影响工作表现,但这在现今工作场合非常常见,特别是由于很多人使用手机和平板作为时钟,闹钟和日历。
对于电子设备,对市场两大主流操作系统的使用差别很大。这始于一个问题“你是使用Windows还是Mac操作系统?”尽管这看上去仅仅是个人偏好问题,但在中国和美国经营时这成为了一个有意思的话题。在两国使用Mac/苹果设备都很时尚。然而在中国,拥有苹果产品不仅仅是个人选择,也是身份的表达。由于在中国苹果设备需交纳更多的税收,和美国不一样的是拥有MacBookPro, MacBookAir或者任何“i设备”对中国人可能意味着自豪感,特别是如果是市场上最新的设备。
基于这点,人们可以预期苹果产品在美国比中国使用得更广泛。在美国由于苹果公司提供的折扣机制,有些学校的笔记本项目全部使用Mac。这有错吗?不一定,这是由于苹果设备宣称更容易使用和故障更少。在中国,微软(PC)和Windows操作系统仍然控制市场。人们需要记住Mac只是一个品牌,一个公司市场的重要组成部分, 但重要性不如有上百家公司为其提供软件的PC/Windows系统。在中国经营时,公司意识到苹果设备和电脑在美国的普及性并不延伸到所有国家或商业社会这点十分重要。因而如果人们预期中国伙伴能够很轻松使用同样的设备可能会遇到挑战。这里要说的是苹果设备很流行,但在办公场所并不那么普及。

II. 电子交流礼节

中国和美国的电子交流礼节的差别给跨洋和跨会议桌交流带来了挑战。强调中国人和美国人在使用移动电话、短信和邮件的差异加深对双方文化的礼节。鉴于清楚的行为和语言沟通在很多生意中至关重要,多了解其他国家的电子交流礼节没有坏处。

移动电话

·在美国,在开会时人们一般不将他或她的手机拿出来摆在桌上。如果手机被放在桌上,一般会将其调成静音或震动模式(例如开会时在等一个电话)
·在中国,在开会时将手机拿出来是完全可以接受的。同样,一般手机不会被调成静音或震动模式,当电话铃声响起时去接听也是可以接受的,即使手机主人并不知道打来的电话号码。有时会议主持人也会接电话并说他正在开会。这种情况下接电话并不是无礼,而仅仅是文化接受程度的问题。发生这样的事情请不要觉得是被冒犯了。

短信

·短信在中国是最方便简单的交流方式。在美国短信被视为轻率和不专业的沟通方式,但在中国情况则不一样。偏好将短信作为交流方式的原因可能是人们预期电子邮件的回复周期较长。一个中国人经常会发短信告诉你他或她已经给你发了邮件,让你注意查收。这是因为电子邮件不是优先处理的事,这跟西方恰恰相反。中国人能够在智能手机上查看电子邮件,但是由于文化的原因他们并不经常这么做,所以他们有时会在几天后才看到重要的邮件。
·由于短信对沟通如此重要,这强调了有本地美国员工或者联系人在中国境内保持后续通信的重要性。如果没有在中国境内的联系人,中国公司可能会认为长期保持沟通渠道畅通不重要或不方便。

电子邮件

对于通信,很多中国人比较简洁,也没有美国人那么及时。

·简洁:中国的电子邮件通信很短。很多时候,邮件简洁到甚至会被认为是粗鲁的。在中国职场,一个快速的“好的”,“是”或者“不”邮件回复已经足够了。而在美国这样的回复会被认为过于草率而未经深思。从文化上来讲,在中国这不是粗鲁的行为,美国公司如果收到这样的邮件并不应该将其视为对商业关系的不重视。在中国写很短的,只有一个单词的邮件在文化上是可以接受的。
·及时:发邮件给一个中国公司时,几周后收到邮件或者根本没有回复请不要被吓到。不论怎样你应该继续发邮件并强调需要回复,或者如上文提到的保持有在中国境内的联系人以直接从中国以短信或邮件的方式联系对方公司。并不是所有的中国公司都以散漫的态度对待电子邮件,但了解该情况会发生可以使美国的职业人士和公司更好的调整对其中国合作伙伴的预期。就这一点而言,美国公司员工不应由于其中国合作伙伴不立即回复而放弃自身的沟通惯例。如果一个公司习惯于快速沟通,和中国公司合作时应该调整其预期。
·这就是说,当中国人或公司希望及时的时候,他们会很迅速。例如,中国人或公司在沟通的几天内安排好会议很常见。显然这只能在双方都能见面的情况下才能发生。很多中国人和公司并不提前几周安排好商务会议。如果周一进行了关于商务会议的沟通,中国人可能会建议在同一周的周二或者周三就进行会议。

尽管中美之间在数字化礼节上有很多的文化差异,人们不应让这些差异成为潜在商业伙伴之间不可逾越的障碍。很多美国公司在中国的业务非常成功,反之亦然。要记住的最重要的是将对自己国家公司或个人的预期放在其他国家伙伴身上会造成困惑和不满。这并不意味着一个人表现出较低的商业惯例的标准,而是你预期到中国人的习惯和美国人不一样。由于二十一世纪深处几乎不能移动的技术中,加深对中美之间数字化惯例的差异的了解对希望在大洋两岸经营的公司都很关键。

作者:Natalie Sammarco,中美中心国硕士2014

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