Factors affecting ethical attitudes in mainland china and Hong Kong

Journal of Business Ethics 77 (4):463 - 479 (2008)
Abstract
In this article, we analyzed the effect of various factors on moral judgment and ethical attitudes of working persons. It was found that the effect of various socio-demographic factors on ethical attitudes varied between the two different categories of ethical issues under study, issues which involve explicit violation of laws vis-à-vis issues which involved social concerns. Our results did not support the implication of Callahan’s hypothesis that males are more sensitive to rule-based ethical issues while women are to issues involving social concerns; it was found that females have a lower acceptability of unethical behaviors related to both categories of issues in Hong Kong, whereas gender effect was not statistically significant in Mainland China. University education also had no significant effect on ethical attitudes. Religion played an important role in affecting ethical attitudes, however, its effect varied with different types of religions; Christianity was found to be most favorable to higher ethical standards, but people of traditional Chinese religion had a higher acceptability of unethical behaviors involving social concerns compared to people with no religion. Our finding also indicated that employees in state-owned enterprises, private employees, employees in foreign-investment firms, and employers in Mainland China all had a higher acceptability of unethical law-breaking behaviors compared to workers in collectives, throwing doubt on the validity of convergence theory in Mainland China.
Keywords China  ethical attitudes  gender  Hong Kong  moral judgment  religion
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