Trouble in the Middle: American-Chinese Business Relations, Culture, Conflict, and Ethics


Trouble in the Middle is a study of ethical and cultural issues in American-Chinese business relations. Based on interviews of American business executives in the United States, American and Chinese business executives in China, and visits to American and Chinese operations in China, the research focuses on challenges to doing business in China. The Chinese economic reforms are analyzed in detail to determine the type of business system that is emerging. Specific attention is given to the different ethical and cultural assumptions that American and Chinese executives bring to doing business with each other. A concept of the cultural middle is developed to help managers do business in foreign cultures. Several chapters focus on the role of corruption in the China market, both business-government corruption and business to business corruption. Two chapters deal with intellectual property rights issues and the thorny process of addressing them in China. Running through the entire book are detailed discussions of the role of the Chinese middleman in American-Chinese business relations, especially in regard to facilitating bribe payments. The middleman is seen as a key to understanding Chinese culture. The research is related to broader issues concerning China’s historical struggle to modernize its economy and globalization.

Routledge Publishing
March 2013
505 pages

Steven P. Feldman is professor of business ethics at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He was Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in business ethics at Shanghai International Studies University in Shanghai, China. His Ph.D is from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. He has held visiting positions at Oxford University, University of Innsbruck, and the University of Minnesota. He has lectured broadly in China on business ethics issues. His previously published books are Memory as a Moral Decision and The Culture of Monopoly Management. He has published extensively in management journals on ethical and cultural issues. Steve specializes in American-Chinese business relations, business ethics, and nonprofit management.

Contact:Email –  steven.feldman@case.edu
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-feldman/11/4a3/681