Skip to main content
Hong Kong's code of ethics initiative : some differences between theory and practice
Journal of Business Ethics
  • Robin Stanley SNELL, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, and Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Neil C. HERNDON, Jr., University of Missouri, United States, and University of Missouri, United States
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
  • Code,
  • Conduct,
  • Consultation,
  • Culture,
  • Ethics,
  • Hong Kong,
  • Leadership

Although detailed studies of code adoption and impact have already been conducted in Hong Kong, there has as yet been no critical analysis of why there has been a gap between the normative and positive factors underlying codes of ethics in Hong Kong. The purpose of this paper is to consider why Hong Kong companies adopting codes of ethics have failed to adhere closely to the best practice prescriptions for code adoption when it would likely be in their best interests to do so. This paper identifies some cultural factors, such as power distance and traditional Legalist assumptions approximating "Theory X," that appear to be involved in creating this gap, and offers some practical recommendations for closing the gap, which are presented in the form of hypotheses for further testing.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Snell, R. S., & Herndon, N. C. (2004). Hong Kong's code of ethics initiative: Some differences between theory and practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 51(1), 75-89. doi: 10.1023/B:BUSI.0000032346.53898.97