The Effect of Confucian Work Ethics on Learning About Science and Technology Knowledge and Morality

Journal of Business Ethics 95 (1):111 - 128 (2010)
Abstract
While Chinese societies often appear centralized and traditional, presumably impeding technology and innovation, these values may simply reflect the negative-leaning poles of Confucianism. This study proposes a Confucian work ethic dimension that stresses justified tradition. In combination with Western innovative cultures, this Chinese style might facilitate learning about knowledge and morality in an interaction seemingly unique to the Chinese science and technology sector. Specifically, contrary to the Western style that tolerates conflict to achieve harmony, Confucian work ethics -an Eastern way -prefer to respect hierarchy to attain harmony. Samples from the multinational corporations in Shanghai and privately owned enterprises in Hsinchu of Taiwan represent two levels of Westernization. The findings reveal that the two types of cultures almost equally influence the facilitation of learning about morality, whereas the Western way more effectively teaches about professional knowledge and the Eastern way more effectively teaches general knowledge. In addition, though the samples from both locations enjoy positive advantages from their combined cultures, Shanghai appears more Westernized than Taiwan, and Taiwan benefits more from Confucian work ethics and a higher level of quality learning, particularly with regard to morality. This result may suggest the benefits of Confucius' ideas, if they are not used excessively to emphasize the negative aspects
Keywords Confucian work ethics  Chinese S&T personnel  innovative cultures  professional quality  morality  knowledge learning
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