Skip to main content
The third eye : exploring Guanxi and relational morality in the workplace
Journal of Business Ethics
  • Doreen TAN, National University of Singapore
  • Robin Stanley SNELL, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
  • Confucian,
  • Guanxi,
  • Moral thinking,
  • Relational morality

We examine the use of Confucian relational morality as an alternative reference point to that of modernist morality in judging workplace ethical conduct. A semi-structured interview based study involving 46 ethnic Chinese managers and 30 non-Chinese expatriate managers in Singapore, provided evidence of the use of traditional guanxi-linked morality as a moral resource by some of the former group in judging workplace ethical dilemmas. While such morality played only a minor role in moral reasoning, and was largely overshadowed by modernist morality, the research nonetheless demonstrates that moral reasoning reflects wider cultural heritage, and is not merely a function of corporate culture and individual moral development.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers

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

Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Tan, D., & Snell R. S. (2002). The third eye: Exploring Guanxi and relational morality in the workplace. Journal of Business Ethics, 41(4), 361-384. doi: 10.1023/A:1021217027814