Preliminary Study: Influence of Cultural Differences on the Innovation Process Between Chinese and Germans

  • Liuxing Tsao
  • Philip Alexander Behr-Heyder
  • Liang MaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9180)


The success of companies in the industrial sector is highly dependent on innovation. China is the biggest industry nation in the world and Germany is well-known for its engineering and innovations. The differences and conflictions between Chinese and German culture appear in the innovation process. We designed a questionnaire based on Hofstedes cultural model and the stage-gate innovation process to study these differences and elaborate guidelines to encourage innovation in Sino-German companies. We surveyed 92 participants from China and Germany. Furthermore, four semi-structured interviews were conducted with top executives for qualitative data collection. The results suggested that Chinese might be mainly influenced by the concept of power-distance and face, whereas Germans might be influenced by uncertainty avoidance during the innovation process. We developed guidelines to understand the national cultural influence on the innovation process and to manage Chinese and German engineers in this process.


Cross-cultural studies International management  Chinese and German engineers Innovation Innovation process 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, Grant Number 71101079 and Grant Number 71471095). This study was also supported by Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program under Grant Number: 20131089234.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liuxing Tsao
    • 1
  • Philip Alexander Behr-Heyder
    • 1
    • 2
  • Liang Ma
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople Republic of China
  2. 2.RWTH AachenAachenGerman

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