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Abstract

  • Recent research showed that the driving forces behind the contemporary development of business ethics in China were Confucianism, Maoism and foreign business ethics. Economic reforms in China had brought in the Western concept of capitalism which undermined traditional Confucian values in business dealings. Conducting a survey on practicing business managers in China, we examined the impact of Chinese folk wisdom on ethical practices and behaviour. In particular, we analysed the implication of such wisdom in guarding against unethical practices by Chinese managers. Analysis of the survey data indicates that Chinese folk wisdom remains an effective carrier of the Chinese traditional ethical values and acts as an effective ‘firewall’ guarding against possible unethical practices by Chinese managers. However, ‘Li’ (profits) is found to have received more attention than ‘Yi’ (ethics) in the contemporary development of business ethics in China. At this stage, we cannot conclude that ‘Yi’ or ethics is a means or an end to conducting business in China. Possibly it is both a means and an end! The study has also provided evidence on the influences of Chinese folk wisdom on corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.