How East Asians Think Differently Than Westerners

By understanding the East Asian culture and how it is different that the Western culture, individuals from the West can become significantly more  successful doing business with East Asians; selling to East Asians; connecting with East Asians; and/or managing East Asians.

The East Asian culture (China; Taiwan; Japan; Hong Kong; and South Korea) is dramatically differently than that of the Westerner culture. 

The East Asian culture has resulted in member countries having a very different way of doing things and very different social behavior than that of the Western culture countries such as Canada and the USA. For example, Guanxi is an important feature of the business culture of China.

East Asian ways of thinking, reasoning, interpreting, communicating, social behavior, and understanding of self are very different, often virtually opposite to, the ways of Westerners.

It can also differ somewhat by each of the countries of East Asia. For example, the culture of China is highly influences by the teachings of Confucius whereas the culture of Japan is highly influenced by Buddhism.

The presentation/seminar How East Asians Think Differently Than Westerners is cross cultural training designed to provide explanations of the differences between how the East Asian Culture and the Western Culture “see” and experience the world.  It provides valuable insights about each culture and also provides solutions to help bridge the large cultural gaps between these two Culture Groups and how to overcome the cross-cultural barriers that exist.

How East Asians Think Differently Than Westerners can be 100% customized to address the specific cultures of the China; Taiwan: Japan; Hong Kong; and South Korea.   

Examples of some of the insights covered by the cross cultural training provide include:

I: East Asians are highly interdependent with each other. They view themselves in terms of having a specific role with one of more hierarchical groups in their society. They have strong mutual obligations to each group.  That is why when trying to do business with Chinese prospects it is important to understand the concept of Guanxi and the related teachings of Confucius. As Confucius said ” I am the totality of roles I live in relation to specific others”. 

 In contrast, Westerners tend to think about themselves their personal goals much more than East Asians. Westerners view themselves as being unique, independent individual with specific attributes.  They reject the idea of having their freedom constrained by burdensome rules of a Cultural Group.

II: East Asians value success in terms of how their success and achievements benefits the group – not so much about how it benefits them individually. Trying to stand out is unacceptable to any of the groups they belong to in their culture. As a Japanese proverb states “The nail that stands out gets hammered”. 

In contrast, Westerners think of themselves as being independent and free to pursue personal success and achievement. If someone stands out as successful, they tend to be admired – not rejected like happens in the East Asia culture.

For a complimentary discussion on how I might assist you, please go to the Contact Bill tab of this website; or send me an e-mail at; or call me at 905-599-6365 (if unavailable, please leave a voice mail message).

I’ll do my best to respond to you before the end of the business day.

Thank you,


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The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board highly recommends Bill Dennis’ seminar “Negotiating & Selling to Different Cultures & Generations” because of the very enthusiastic and positive feedback from our members.
Cyndi Amodeo, Manager of Professional Development and EventsThe Oakville, Miton and District Real Estate Board