International Perspectives by J.C. Scull

China — Authority — Obedience — Growth

Chinese culture has remained constant and unchanged for the last 5000 years. While China has had its share of internal wars and foreign invaders, compared to other countries it shows amazing historical continuity. How has China been able to remain as such a monolithic culture can only be attributed to its largely homogeneous population, long periods of isolation from the rest of the world, and the ability of those in power to impose a hierarchical system that has demanded obedience from those in lower stations of society.

The notion of obedience can be viewed from the perspective of the contrast between individualism and collectivism. Where in individualistic societies the idea of obedience conjures mixed feelings at best, collectivist societies cannot survive without people’s obedience to the strict social norms, and governmental mandates placed on them. In fact, the Chinese word gexing meaning “individuality” is relatively new. Its first usage dates back to the time of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

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A quick look at cultural dimensions and how they apply to both countries.

While the Chinese and American governments consider themselves adversaries if not competitors in trade, political aspirations, as well as geopolitical positioning and posturing, amazingly Chinese and American people are able to forge strong friendships based on mutual respect. In fact of those people living in these two countries on both sides of the Pacific, it is the young that have the most positive or favorable view of the other country. This feeling is reflected in the number of Chinese students attending U.S. colleges and universities during the 2016 / 2017 school year which is estimated to surpass 350,000.


China’s Grandparent Trap

How China’s children are being cared by their grandparents.

One of the major differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures is the importance of the nuclear family versus the extended family. Individualistic cultures stress self-reliance, the rights of individuals to make their own decisions, and the right to a private life. In contrast collectivistic cultures emphasize an extended family structure in which loyalty is demanded and interdependence is cultivated as well as enforced.

China, being one of the most collectivistic societies in the world has a strong extended family tradition where grandparents enjoy a powerful and influential position within the clan. As China’s economy improves and women enter the workforce at a greater rate, grandparents have taken on an additional role of custodians and caregivers to their grandchildren. Sometimes these roles have extended beyond normal childminding activities during working hours to fulltime adoption or childrearing.

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Multiple Intelligences — A different way to look at your abilities and I.Q.

Maybe we are smarter than we think we really are.

Have you ever bombed on your LSAT? What about your GRE or even your GMAT? How many of you feel your IQ score does not really represent how intelligent you really are? Do not despair. You are not alone. Chances are you are smarter than those pesky scores you received when you took these tests. Most IQ test contain different types of questions. These are usually mathematical and verbal analogies as well as spatial and mathematical pattern driven questions. Plus questions that have to do with the ability to classify, do visual recognition, spatial positioning, and reach logical conclusions.

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China We — America I

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A look at collectivist China through the eyes of Individualistic America

Art mimics life. Or is it the other way around. One thing is for sure; when it comes to American individualism nothing describes it better than Hollywood.

Take the 1971 movie Big Jake, with John Wayne playing the title role. When his grandson gets kidnapped by John Fain’s gang, Big Jake goes into action. He packs his six-shooter and his trusty 30–30 Winchester, gets on his horse and heads out to rescue the boy. Needless to say he kills a lot of people and brings the boy back.

And what about Liam Neeson in Taken. Neeson plays ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills who sets out to rescue his kidnapped daughter from human traffickers, all by his lonesome. Do we even need to go into details? Neeson’s character Bryan Mills wipes everybody out and brings his daughter back safe and sound. Needless to say those savvy Hollywood types know what Americans like and filmed Taken 2. There is even talk of a Taken 3.

America loved the real Sargent York, who during WWI, with his army issued Springfield .30–06 carbine in hand, took hundreds of German soldiers as prisoners all by himself. But America loved the movie too, played by Garry Cooper in 1941. In real life, Sargent York exemplified American ingenuity, valor, and modesty. A true American hero portrayed in the movie that followed in a very compelling and realistic way.

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Is the U.S. ready to move away from liberalism to protectionism?

globalization…An unbiased explanation of the trade policy options we face today…

Recently and specially during the 2016 presidential election cycle, there has been a great deal of discussion and criticism about both the U.S.’s free trade approach and also the free trade agreements that have either been enacted or are being currently negotiated. This public narrative seems to be based on the sentiment that free trade and free trade agreements are at the expense of American jobs ultimately negatively affecting the economy.

However, what would imply moving away from our current policy of free trade? How would our country change? Would the American people accept the type of changes that would be required to put in place a protectionist or mercantilist policy of trade? If the country moved ahead with a policy change such as this, would our current form of government be able to implement the types of programs needed to make the change from a free market economy to protectionism or mercantilism?

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Big companies are not the only ones that can benefit from taking their products to foreign markets. Small and medium size companies can also benefit from selling outside of the United States. In fact, the most common reasons for deciding when it is a good time to look for foreign markets to sell your products or services are: 1) when domestic markets are either getting saturated with your products or similar ones; 2) when you are facing an extremely competitive local environment; or 3) when you are facing a declining product life cycle locally.

However, keep in mind that while the growth opportunities that can be accrued by taking your products to markets outside of the United States are considerable, so are the challenges. Cultural and language issues, government regulations, local competition, travel related costs, duties, freight, exchange rates, package/language requirements, and more are just but a few of the hurdles you can expect when trying to sell your products overseas.

The following five steps should help you determine how to move forward and make you international sales efforts a rewarding and profitable experience.



Creativity and Innovation are the key drivers to organizational success. Change is the inevitable result of this creative and innovative process.

Why is it important to understand the process of creativity, innovation and change? Today’s reality dictates that only those organizations that embrace creativity and innovation management will achieve sustainable competitive advantage in the market place. Peter Drucker, a great management thinker said; “I have continued to stress over the years that organizations that do not innovate will not survive”.

Successful innovations, on the other hand create change in the marketplace and in society. Just think of innovatively disruptive companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, and many others. In fact, it can be said that innovation isn’t about creating new products. Innovation is really about changing behavior.


How Good Are Your Thinking And Decision Making Skills?

The Thinker by Rodin (1840–1917), in the garden of the Musée Rodin

Have you ever watched the show Jeopardy and been amazed by the volume of trivia the show’s contestants have stored in their minds? You might wonder how it would be to have all that information available to you without having to resort to our modern-day digital encyclopedia — Google.

But think for a second; what good is knowing all that information if you are not able to put it to good use? What good is knowing that the 17th President of the United States was Andrew Jackson unless you are able to understand the importance and impact that his presidency represented to the nation after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated?

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