- February 10, 2022
- , 2:27 am
This article covers the top 20 differences and similarities between east vs west culture including family, work, beliefs, orientation, and other points
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Similarities between east vs west culture
Everyone wants to make a better life for themselves and their families. This is a universal truth. Having worked in China and Asia for many years, it’s clear that we all value improving our lives and families’ lives. So what are the differences and similarities between east vs west culture?
In the East and west are similarly respected. Meaning that people try to respect their cultural histories. Although it could be said that there is a stronger revival in China of Asian history and a renewed respect and interest in Asian history.
For example ‘Guochao’ jingdaily.com is the growing trend of Chinese consumers on Chinese culture and nationalism. Many brands promote Chinese traditional images and fashion in order to please Chinese consumers.
Whereas in the West it could be said it is the opposite. Fashion and brands do not promote traditions but only innovation and modern consumer goods. Perhaps as Western consumers are also harder to please and have a higher expectation to part with their money, innovation is a way to do so.
Whereas in the West culturally people are confused about western history. Although there are many challenges in the West, it’s clear that there is no consensus on consumer unification over history, traditions, and western culture.
Innovation and technology
A similarity between east vs west cultural is that they both put a focus on innovation to keep economies thriving and competitive in the global marketplace. In China there is a clear push to innovate and improve technology and commerce in order to drive competitiveness, productivity and improve GDP and job creation.
Tech hubs have been setup in Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Chengdu, etc kr-asia.com and www.scmp.com. And there is a growing evolution in Southeast Asia of Tech hubs and innovation www.collectivecampus.io.
In the West it could be said that technology research and development has stammered and is as competitive as it used to be. And that the West struggles to innovate and compete. Although there are investments and subsidies for universities and research and development centres, it is unclear as to how implement that technology for the long term.
As all cultures both east and west cultures it’s clear that everyone is striving for a better future. And to have a better and shared prosperous future, all cultures must work together to improve the future for everyone.
In both east vs west one of the similarities are the health systems. In China the universal public insurance health system has much improved over the past decade and now is relatively low cost to get medicine and health support.
Similarly with many European health institutions, care is subsidised by the taxpayer under the government funder health care system, allowing for anyone to get low cost and free health care.
Though health care in general is not a clean-cut case around the world and many Countries both easter and western have various versions of healthy care systems. It’s clear that everyone is trying to improve health for the people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_systems_by_country
western culture vs Asian culture beliefs
So some of the east vs west differences I found whilst spending time in China, it’s clear that collectivism is at the forefront of the national psyche. And in many ways, it makes decisions and goals much clearer and easier to manage, especially in company groups.
Individualism vs collectivism
Company team building is a good example of a collective and helps to not only unite a group under the banner of working towards a common goal, but it also keeps individuals and the group motivated to increase productivity.
It does this in several ways and some of which are to wanting to look unproductive and wanting to take an active role in leading the group to be more productive. Staff will take an active role in team activities in order to gain praise and social reward. Though arguably many will actively participate in order to be of use as well.
Team building exercises usually take on a nationalistic tone, with Chinese banners and conversation aligning with the companies’ goals and strategic vision also. Which can be a positive aspect when dealing with motivation and productivity.
In the western sense of individualism team building is less prevalent. And usually is something staff are less willingly to do. Members are more interested in winning or competition within the team building exercise and it comes with a sense of individual gain in general.
Eastern long-term orientation and vision vs Western short-term orientation
Hofstede’s model still holds true in 2022 but with some changes. Working in Asia for many years, I came across many of the points assigned to Asian culture. Some are true and some have changes slightly.
Some east vs west differences I found whilst working in a Chinese company it’s clear that persistence, hard work and future oriented goals one year, five years and even twenty years down the road are common themes at annual meetings and discussions of goals and direction.
Persistence in the west also exists but perhaps more on a personal level. Whereas the individual will choose to work hard and obtain goals. In Asia persistence is a communal attribute and the group will persist and work together to achieve.
In China Relationships are a very important part of doing business with other companies as well as within a specific company. Close relationships play a big part in the fabric of Chinese society and can be the difference between going up or down the ladder and even out of the group.
Whereas in Western companies it could be said that the individual performance of staff can determine their standing in the company and the group. Meaning if you personally add value, you are a more important member of the community and given a higher status.
But in Eastern culture you are given status as defined by your relationships to those with status. And it is usually not the most experienced that goes up the ladder. It’s the one with the most social credit.
Although as China changes and becomes more competitive within the global economy, it’s clear that slowly it is becoming the those with higher technical skills and experience are becoming more valued in organisations. It’s a realty that is hard to avoid.
Adaptability, change and consistency
I have noticed is that in the West there is more of an expectation of stability and consistency from leadership and individuals in general as compared with the East. This may also have something to do with stages of economic development.
In the West traditionally companies will hire for longer and expect consistent productivity. Whereas in the East companies are much more agile, and adaptive. Changing sometimes month to month. This change is aligned with the start-up nature of many privatised businesses and therefore needs individuals to be adaptive to change and able to face uncertainty at a very high level.
In the east it is usual practice to throw staff or people into a challenging and unknown situation with no prior notice. An example of this could be notifying a member of staff of a presentation or large event to be done on the day of an event or similar.
Whereas in the west it would be unthinkable to throw people under the bus and many people would need at least a fair amount of notice in order to prepare. And of course, this does not account for every situation on both sides, but in general it has been the case in my experience.
Other east vs west differences can be found in the West it is commonplace for companies to give staff 15 days to one month holiday and it is expected that staff will take those days off. And staff expect to be able to relax and rehabilitate during this time.
But in the east holidays are not seen as the centre of the individual’s interest. Yes, holidays with family and time off is important. And becoming more important as time goes on in the East. But it is not considered above the communities needs. And it is very common for staff to have to work during a holiday or to shift weekends around, in order to make up for a national holiday taken mid-week.
Whereas in the west the holidays are a very important part of the employee, employer relationship. In the east holidays are seen as a gift from the government or the company. This extends to overtime. Many employees in the East are expected to do overtime and ‘get company things done,’ before any personal break is given.
Populations east vs west
One of the main points when considering culture round the world is population size. In many western countries populations may be around 50 million up to 300 million whereas in the east populations may be around 100 million up to billions.
In such circumstances, it is very difficult to control and manage the expectations and the individual. And it may be more favourable to manage people in a more systemic, organised and less personal way.
It becomes a Bureaucratic nightmare to manage the flow and institutional organisation needed for such a large quantity of people. And therefore, this may go some way into explaining the vast Bureaucracy that is prominent in many easter cultures and countries.
West religion vs Eastern religion
Western culture in general has a foundation of Christianity; Judaism, Catholicism, Protestant, and Islam in its various forms whereas many cultures in the east have a foundation of Hinduism, Jainism, Shenism, Taoism, Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam.
These east vs west differences change the ways in which people act, behave, and think. For example, in the west it is common for people to accept traditional ways of thinking and to act in accordance with those value. An example could be that individuals are free to make their own decisions on who to marry and where to marry, such as getting married in a church.
Whereas in the east many times in cultures such as India and other Asian countries, getting an arranged marriage is common practice and the families happiness and wealth is more important than that of the individual.
Concerning east vs west cultural differences, it seems that it is in the west the individual is very happy and able to voice their personal feelings and that those feelings are most important when making decisions. People are more than happy to express their like or dislike of others, situations, and their own future.
Whereas in the east it is less likely that the individual will voice such concerns and may be silent with personal feelings. In the east there may be a social pressure to conform and therefore, people will keep their opinions to themselves more often.
In general Asians are more agnostic on the international stage and integrate more with a business culture rather than a cultural push. Though China has been known to export its culture in recent years. Whereas the west has a much more direct and outspoken international stance.
Western vs eastern culture and family
in Asia it is common for people to chit chat about food. In China it is common for the security guard or the receptionist to talk to you about whether you have eaten breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
This can be an odd conversation for westerners who may inquiry why someone is asking such personal questions. The west food is a personal topic but in Asia food is public discussion and open for small talk at any time.
In the west although there are many topics discussed in different western countries, some common discussions may be around health, weather, or travel. Likewise when talking to Asian people about the weather westerners may receive strange looks and some may not quite understand the nature of the conversation and loos interest.
Saving and restraint
In the east it is more likely that people will save money, work hard, and restrain from spending too much. Well at least traditionally it was. In modern times, the younger Gen Z are spending more and saving less. Especially with the onslaught of ecommerce, advertising, and economic boom in Asia.
But the older generation are savvier with their savings. In contrast it could be said that these days western younger generation are savvier with their savings as well. Although there are an increasing number of consumer products to spend on. Many younger generations are realising that saving is the only way to get on the property ladder and increase their net wealth.
Parents, children, and Education
East vs west differences and similarities are seen prominently when it comes to children. Generally western children are left to do what they want. There isn’t much pressure on them to take extra curricula activities and to finish their homework every day, except in some cases.
Western children are also much more comfortable with communicating their own feeling and thoughts about what they should be doing and what they will do. Whether good or bad. Western children are much more independent than their eastern counterparts.
Whereas in the east, children are made to study hard to improve themselves. It is very common in China for children to take evening and weekend courses to improve themselves. This has actually come to the attention of the government who have recently began restricting weekend training schools for this reason www.dw.com.
The culture in the east is to focus the family and the importance of the family on the children. This can be seen in the form of parents also purchasing housing close to schools that they want their children to go to.
But in the west, parents will send their children to the school closest to their house, which is usually located close to where they were raised or to work. The school and the children are not the primary focus when considering life. Though it can be argued that western parents will send their children to better school and push them to work hard in some cases.
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Eastern and Western cultures have a different perception of power and power distance. Eastern cultures tend to have a very hierarchical structure, where Western cultures are more egalitarian. “Western cultures value independence and tend to promote individuals who are task orientated and individualistic.”What are the similarities between Eastern and Western cultures? ›
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French culture, Spanish culture, and British culture are all sub-categories under the broad, loose category of Western culture. Europe and much of the Western Hemisphere is Western in culture.What is the difference between Western and non Western cultures? ›
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Thus one major difference is that the west is heavily individualistic while the east is a much more collectivist society. Westerners tend to value success and self-improvement whereas easterners focus more on group achievements. Westerners also value personal choice and freedom more than easterners.
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"West" is a noun describing a compass direction. If you were standing facing north, west would be to your left. "The West" often refers to certain countries in the Western Hemisphere. "Western" is an adjective - western food, western culture, western values.What are the Eastern traits? ›
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|African culture||Asian culture|
|Eastern culture||Latin-American culture|
What are the 3 Eastern thoughts? ›
Understanding the Three Philosophical Leaders Of The East
- 老子 (Lao Tzu) /道家 (dào jiā) is Daoism (or Taoism) ...
- 孔子 (Confucius) / 儒家 (rú jiā) is Confucianism. ...
- 佛教 (fó jiào) Buddhism.
- ONE: Life is suffering. The first and central 'noble truth' of the Buddha is that life is unavoidably about suffering. ...
- THREE: Guanyin. Guanyin is a saintly female figure in East Asian Buddhism strongly associated with mercy, compassion and kindness. ...
- FIVE: Bamboo as Wisdom.
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Western ethics are dominated by ethical theories such as deontology and utilitarianism. The first emphasizes the use of reason and logic to find what is believed to be the right answer to ethical problems, and then demands adherence to moral decisions irrespective of the consequences.
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Obviously, Filipinos culture has been greatly influenced by the west: our education, music, show business, lifestyle, fashion and even on infrastructures.How do Eastern and Western cultures differ in how people think about the self? ›
How do eastern and western cultures differ in terms of how people think about the self? Western cultures sway toward observing the self as a single entity, more individualistic. Alternatively, Eastern cultures view the individual as part of a bigger entity, collectivist; part of a family, clan, tribe, etc.What aspects that makes differences between cultures? ›
Differences between people within any given nation or culture are much greater than differences between groups. Education, social standing, religion, personality, belief structure, past experience, affection shown in the home, and a myriad of other factors will affect human behavior and culture.
What are the commonalities of Western philosophy with Eastern philosophy? ›
Both of these philosophers have exerted an enormous influence through their works, and both argue for the existence of innate knowledge; that human beings are born knowing right from wrong, and good from bad, and need only be encouraged to pursue goodness in order to live a fulfilling life.Is Japan Eastern or Western? ›
East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The modern states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan.What are the differences of Western and Eastern perspective? ›
Western philosophy deals with Individualism while Eastern Philosophy is related to Collectivism. Both philosophies center on virtues. Eastern philosophy takes more of a spiritual approach while Western philosophy is more hands-on.What is self in the Western culture? ›
In the West, there is a dualistic conception of the self where there is a clear distinction between creator and created, and Man and the self is viewed as an artifact of creation.How do Western and Eastern countries tend to differ in their values quizlet? ›
- Western countries like the US tend to value individualism and stress the importance of each person's own needs, whereas Eastern countries like China tend to value collectivism and stress the importance of groups over individuals.What are the 8 main types of cultural differences? ›
- Individualism vs. Collectivism. ...
- Power Distance. ...
- Uncertainty Avoidance. ...
- Gender Egalitarianism. ...
- Assertiveness (Cooperative vs. ...
- Orientation to Time. ...
- Being vs. ...
- Indulgence vs.
A similarity is a sameness or alikeness. When you are comparing two things — physical objects, ideas, or experiences — you often look at their similarities and their differences. Difference is the opposite of similarity. Both squares and rectangles have four sides, that is a similarity between them.What is the biggest contribution of Eastern philosophy to the world? ›
The most important characteristic of the Eastern world view - one could almost say the essence of it - is the awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena in the world as manifestations of a basic oneness.What are Western ethics? ›
Western ethics are dominated by ethical theories such as deontology and utilitarianism. The first emphasizes the use of reason and logic to find what is believed to be the right answer to ethical problems, and then demands adherence to moral decisions irrespective of the consequences.How are Western and Eastern philosophies related to our current educational practice? ›
The Eastern education philosophy stresses a meaningful life in producing an ideal life of individual and focuses on values that affect the lifestyles, while western education philosophy looks on the learning process at educational institution in producing a knowledgeable and competence students.
What is Japan's real name? ›
Historians say the Japanese called their country Yamato in its early history, and they began using Nippon around the seventh century. Nippon and Nihon are used interchangeably as the country's name.Is Mexico a Western culture? ›
Mexico, Central and and South America are part of Western Civilization.Is China eastern or Western? ›
East Asia includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan.