This thesis looks at the understanding of Chinese and Western cultures within the academic working environment of internationalised higher education, and the influence on their working relationships.
This research takes an interpretivist, qualitative approach. It is based on four different organisational contexts of internationalised higher education in Mainland China, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. The four organisational contexts include a Chinese case, a Collaborative case, a Colonialism case and a British case. Qualitative interview data were collected from seventy Chinese and Western academic staff. The research examines academic staff s interpretation of Western (Hofstede s cultural dimensions) and Chinese cultural values (Guanxi, Mianzi and Harmony).
The key findings are Guanxi, Mianzi and Harmony are closely related to Hofstede s cultural dimensions. Particularly, with the support of the Chinese Yin-Yang theory, it demonstrates that Hofstede s bipolar cultural dimensions are not sufficient to explain the Chinese culture. The findings also show that Western expatriate academics have stronger cultural sensitivity than the Chinese indigenous academics. Furthermore, the findings show that the organisational context has a stronger impact than the national one on employees cultural understanding and working relationships. Based on the findings, practical implications are discussed as well as limitations and recommendations for future research.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.