A Study of the Attitudes towards Unethical Selling Amongst Chinese Salespeople

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (S3):497-515 (2009)
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The latter part of the twentieth century saw the Chinese economy moving towards a socialist market economy rather than a planned system. Despite growing interest in Chinese business ethics, little work has examined ethical issues concerning the Chinese sales force. This study draws from existing work on Chinese and Western business and sales ethics to develop hypotheses regarding the perceptions of unethical selling behaviour of modern Chinese salespeople. A survey of Chinese sales executives is conducted and statistically analysed. Results are compared with those reported in previous US-based research with regard to differences in perceptions of unethical selling behaviour. The results indicate that contemporary Chinese salespeople were more favourably disposed than expected towards unethical selling behaviour, and also more favourably disposed than previously studied US salespeople. Younger Chinese salespeople evaluated unethical behaviours more favourably than older ones. The results are discussed, along with implications for theory, practice and future work.



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