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Moral atmosphere and moral influence under China's network capitalism
Organization Studies
  • Robin Stanley SNELL, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Choo Sin TSENG, City University of Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
  • China,
  • Communist,
  • Ethics,
  • Ideology,
  • Leadership,
  • Morality

A weak legal system, weak civic accountability, market distortions, public cynicism, and workforces lacking moral self-efficacy, present challenges to moral integrity in Chinese mainland enterprises. Our predominantly qualitative study, in Wuhan, of organizational moral atmosphere (OMA) in two large state-owned enterprises (SOEs), two smaller, shareholder invested SOEs, two foreign-invested joint venture companies (JVCs) and one private company, indicated that felt distributive inequity may have compounded these problems. Government-championed, in-company ideological propagation of avowed business morality appeared to have little impact on OMA, owing to normative incoherence. The JVCs, by adopting the foreign partners' system of rational-legal administration and internal justice, appeared to have found a relatively more effective approach to formal moral governance. Non-JVCs had a more punishment-oriented yet less rigorous approach to regulation, which was commended only at the private company, where personal share ownership gave middle and senior managers incentives,to enforce discipline and thus minimize losses. Developmental and dialogue-based approaches to improving OMA were largely untried.

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Copyright © 2002 EGOS

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Citation Information
Snell, R., & Tseng, C. S. (2002). Moral atmosphere and moral influence under China's network capitalism. Organization Studies, 23(3), 449-478. doi: 10.1177/0170840602233006