Isolating Cultural and National Influence on Value and Ethics: A Test of Competing Hypotheses

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (S1):197 - 210 (2009)

Abstract
We live in an increasingly globalizing world, in which countries are closely linked by international trade and investment ties. Cross-cultural comparative studies of national values and ethics have attracted growing research interest in recent years, because shared practices, values and ethical standards depend on shared beliefs. However, the findings of such studies have been unable to reach a consensus on the impact of culture on ethics-related attitudes and behavior. Empirically, many "cross–cultural" differences reported by previous studies might actually stem from cross-national differences. In order to partially fill this gap, this study advocates an analytical framework that isolates the role of cultural and national differences in order to test their relationship to individual level variables. Within this framework, we test competing hypotheses based on both cultural and national contexts by comparing groups of Chinese and American respondents together with a "bridging group" of Chinese Chinese-Americans. Theoretically, this contextual approach helps resolve the debate on the role of culture, by showing that culture plays a far more important role in shaping value orientations than the national background. Specifically, the two ethnic Chinese groups had many cultural values in common, and differed significantly from the Caucasian group. Implications are discussed
Keywords Chinese culture  ethics  Confucian value  comparative study
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-008-9822-0
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