Culture Clash in the Boardroom (HBR CASE STUDY)

Katherine R. Xin (First Author), Tianbing Zhang (Participant Author), Haijie Wang (Participant Author), Shuibo Xu (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal


The article presents a case study about a fictional chemical-manufacturing joint venture in China that involves a German parent firm and its Chinese partner. The German firm has insisted upon scrupulous compliance with Western standards regarding industrial safety, business ethics, and the environment. However, its Chinese partners are annoyed that they cannot use gifts, commissions, and other favors said to be frequently used in China in order to secure business. Disagreement has arisen over whether the joint venture should pay a commission to a potential customer's purchasing agent in order to clinch a very large sale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-133
JournalHarvard Business Review
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Bribery
  • Business ethics
  • China
  • Cross cultural relations
  • Germany
  • Joint ventures
  • Laws & regulations
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Workplace health
  • safety

Indexed by

  • FT
  • ABDC-A
  • Scopus
  • SSCI


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