The third eye : exploring Guanxi and relational morality in the workplace

Doreen TAN, Robin Stanley SNELL

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-384
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2002


  • Confucian
  • Guanxi
  • Moral thinking
  • Relational morality


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