East Meets West: Thinking Styles of Chinese Executives

Francesco Sofo, Ting Wang

    Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Paper


    Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth (Rudyard Kipling, 1889) The poem by Kipling is a perfect expression of the identity, the feelings and the meeting of two unique sides. This paper demonstrates that in fact East is meeting West in the new global order. Chinese executives are at the forefront of cultural change brought on by reform and decentralization in the new global economy which China has entered with alacrity. The paper explores the thinking styles of Chinese executives and analyses the self-reported perceptions of their own thinking styles. A description is presented of educational executive thinking styles from data collected from inventories developed by Sofo (2002) and by Sternberg (1997). It is thought that executives of educational institutions might differ in some way from those in more corporate cultures. Within this research, comparisons are made between educational and non-educational executives on a five dimensional Thinking Style Inventory developed by Sofo (2002). Qualitative data of ten in-depth interviews with educational executives are also presented to reveal their descriptions of their own thinking styles. The paper also presents education executive views of the differences between Chinese and Western thinking styles. The findings will be helpful in improving our approaches to teaching where Chinese executives are involved and the insights could also contribute to developing better relationships across our different cultures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages26
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventAARE International Educational Research Conference - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 28 Nov 20042 Dec 2004


    ConferenceAARE International Educational Research Conference


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