Purpose – The objective of this paper is to compare the management style of marketing managers in Australia with the counterparts in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Design/methodology/approach – Based on the differences in cultural dimensions and context, five hypotheses related to management decision‐making styles were developed and tested by questionnaire survey. Sixty seven valid Australia samples and 104 valid Chinese samples were obtained through mail survey and personal interviews, respectively. Findings – Results show that PRC managers have significantly higher scores in the five management style dimensions (namely: information utilization, complexity, group decision‐making, risk acceptance and technology orientation) than their Australian counterparts. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited by the small sample size. The findings may be limited by measurement equivalence issues and further investigation of management style differences across more countries is clearly needed. Practical implications – The findings of this study provide useful insights into the differences in the management style of marketing managers in the two countries. It is possible to predict management style differences based on a comparison of cultural differences in a systematic way. Originality/value – This paper contributes to the literature in international marketing and management. It is imperative for managers to understand how cultures affect the management style of the managers they interact with as well as their own. The study serves as a guideline for studying other cultures, which is especially relevant for companies that are seeking to expand their strategic alliance operations.