Journal of Business Ethics

, 89:235 | Cite as

Guanxi and Business Ethics in Confucian Society Today: An Empirical Case Study in Taiwan

  • Dennis B. Hwang
  • Patricia L. Golemon
  • Yan Chen
  • Teng-Shih Wang
  • Wen-Shai Hung


Guanxi, or social networks common in Confucian cultures, has long been recognized as one of the major factors for success when doing business in China. However, insider networks in business are certainly not confined to Asian cultures, nor is the attendant possibility for corruption. This study obtained original data to investigate current Taiwanese perceptions of (1) how guanxi is established and cultivated; (2) how guanxi actually is practiced now and people’s acceptance of it; and (3) the effects of guanxi on business operations, employment/promotion, and social justice and fairness. The researchers also hope to (4) verify some arguments made by pioneering researchers. The authors speculate on how these attitudes may affect behavior in business transactions in hopes of making readers more aware of differing cultural values that may create unexpected ethical dilemmas. They suggest that professional ethical codes should provide guidance on the practice of guanxi in a Confucian society and that special emphasis or training in interpreting those codes may be required.


auditor independence Confucianism corruption culture guanxi social networks 



The authors are indebted to the two anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis B. Hwang
    • 1
  • Patricia L. Golemon
    • 2
  • Yan Chen
    • 3
  • Teng-Shih Wang
    • 4
  • Wen-Shai Hung
    • 5
  1. 1.Bloomsburg University of PennsylvaniaBloomsburgU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of Houston-DowntownHoustonU.S.A.
  3. 3.Dongbei University of Finance and EconomicsDalian CityChina
  4. 4.Feng Chia UniversityTaichung CityTaiwan R.O.C.
  5. 5.Providence UniversityTaichung CityTaiwan R.O.C.

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