This study is a cross-cultural examination of 145 Australian and 150 Chinese men and women business managers from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Harbin that chiefly concerns each participant’s beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and work-related values about ethics with a special focus on bribery.
By examining the participants’ moral ethos, the study agrees with existing cross-national literature that contends a participants’ ethical disposition exhibit gender and age difference; it is how these characteristics correlate between Chinese and Australian managers that is of significance and which forms part of this study.
Using a variant of Reasoned Action Theory (Fishbein & Ajzen 1975), a modified design involves a somewhat unique generative research strategy that uses qualitative techniques to bring about a quantitative methodology that explores behaviour intent and thus likely behaviour. In addition, the study offers an innovative method for cross national research and an alternative to solely using a methodology based on Hofstede’s (2001) much-lauded human values framework. In this manner, the study goes further than exploring Western designed conceptualisations and the measurement of Chinese culture by having a method based on contradiction and process.
The method also takes into account both non-response and socially desirable response bias. With non-response bias, the study followed the standard 5-point Likert scaling procedure on the premise that people will, when given a choice, express opinions on fictitious issues, objects, and events like that offered. In addition, by offering a non-attitude, middle, or unsure choice, identification of all participants holding middle positions, or unsure opinions, would add a focused value to the overall data results. With respect to averting socially desirable response bias, the methodology employed a theoretical foundation capable of measuring a manager’s beliefs, attitude, and their perceptions of bribery, by employing validated Western and Eastern methods to measure societal values.
The study, in addition, proposes new agendas for future research that have several implications for cross-national theory and its parent–cultural theory; and, in particular, the implicit theory of ethical beliefs and human moral value assumptions. Moreover, the study offers an embryonic paradigm for exploring cross-national human behaviour and behavioural intent; and, due to its nascent nature encourages debate for further construct enhancement.
A significant contribution to scholarship, private and public policy and management practice comes from comparisons against known and validated human value systems. This assertion suggests that Chinese traditional culture with respect to long-held values consistent with Confucian doctrine and Maoist ideology and, in particular, generational, gender and regional difference; are going through mammoth change more consistent with the positives and negatives of Western values. Furthermore, and, by way of a further assessment against each nation state’s legal statutes and corporate governance doctrine a significant cautionary warning to Western managers is offered. Apart from Australian and Western business managers being made aware of these changes the changes are of significance for both Australian and Western government anti-corruption agencies to note
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