Mapping Confucian Values in the Context of Ethical Dimensions: Implications for Contemporary Business Practices

Published in Research news


With rapid growth in Far Eastern economies (in particular China’s), it is becoming imperative to understand the culturally driven ethical-value underpinnings of the management processes in this region of the world. In this study, we propose a broadened version of Hofstede’s and others’ conception of Confucian dynamics anchored in his teachings preserved in the Lunyu (or Analects), which form the foundation of individual-social moral interactions. Based on a content analysis of these Analects via a qualitative software, NVivo, we identified six work-based values (Leadership Attributes, Appropriate Conduct, Authority Protocol, Governance Policies, Long term Orientation and Collegiality and Teamwork) and six life-based values (Virtuousness and Appropriate Behavior, Handling Life’s Emotions, Learning and Teaching, Parent/Elder Relationship, Friendship and Worship) of the society, prescribed by Confucius in his Analects. These factors are further analyzed and mapped in the context of the three Confucian ethical dimensions (Yi or Righteousness, Li or Propriety, and Ren or Benevolence and Unboundedness). The business implications of the results and directions for future research are finally discussed.