Perceptions of the ethicality of favors at work in Asia: An 11-society assessment

Charlotte M. Karam, David A. Ralston, Carolyn P. Egri, Arif Butt, Narasimhan Srinivasan, Ping Ping Fu, Chay Hoon Lee, Yong lin Moon, Yongjuan Li, Mahfooz Ansari, Christine Kuo, Vu Thanh Hung, Andre Pekerti, Philip Hallinger, Yongqing Fang, Ho Beng Chia

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We explore macro-level factors that shape perceptions of the ethicality of favors in Asian workplaces using the subordinate influence ethics (SIE) measure. We also expand and use the crossvergence model to examine the cross-level relationship between socio-cultural (i. e., traditional/secular; survival/self-expression; in-group favoritism) and business ideology influences (i. e., human development level, control of corruption) on perceptions of favor-seeking at work. This study examines the perceptions of a total of 4,325 managers and professionals in a diverse set of 11 Asian societies: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Our investigation focuses on both the "softer" (image management) and "harder" (self-serving) sides of subordinate influence attempts to seek favors, as well as the degree of ethical differentiation across these societies. Key results based on hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) suggest that both the World Value Survey's socio-cultural values as well as in-group favoritism contribute to our understanding of influence behaviors in Asia. Likewise, level of human development and control of corruption also appear to be promising predictors of influence ethics. In sum, our results suggest that widening the scope of the crossvergence conceptualization of socio-cultural and business ideology influences engender a better understanding of differences in attitudes toward subordinate use of favoritism across Asian societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-408
Number of pages36
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • Cross-cultural behavior
  • Favor-seeking
  • Favoritism
  • Hierarchical linear modeling
  • Subordinate influence ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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