The Evolution of Business Ethics in China and the United States: Convergence, Divergence, or Crossvergence?

Jong Min Lee, Yongsun Paik, Charles Vance, Donghong Li, Kevin Groves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a cross-temporal comparison of managerial ethics in China and the US. Although it is well established that cross-cultural differences exist in business ethics and that culture and values in a society may evolve over time, little attention has been paid to the longitudinal changes in such cross-cultural differences that might have occurred over time. Building on three different perspectives on values evolution, namely, convergence, divergence, and crossvergence, we investigate whether and how cross-cultural differences in managerial ethical decision-making and the associated moral philosophy have changed in China and the US over the decade between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s. Our analysis reveals that the difference in Chinese and American managers' ethical decision-making evolved in many different directions over the decade, lending support to the crossvergence perspective. Interestingly, however, we discover that the divergence outlook prevails when it comes to the moral philosophies behind their decision-making. These findings provide critical insights into cross-cultural as well cross-temporal evolution in business ethics in a world of increasing cross-cultural and multicultural interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-685
Number of pages28
JournalManagement and Organization Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug 4

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The International Association for Chinese Management Research.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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