Status Effects on Attributions for Online Knowledge Sharing Failures: A Comparison Between Chinese and Korean Cultures

  • Nan Qie
  • Pei-Luen Patrick RauEmail author
  • Jun Liu
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10911)


Social status and culture can affect attributions. In this study, the authors utilized a knowledge-sharing failure scenario to test the effects of status and culture on attributions with a survey conducted among 127 Chinese and 120 Koreans. The results showed that both Chinese and Koreans felt significantly more disappointed when the failure occurred because of the senior’s rather than the junior’s ability-related issues. Chinese participants tended to ascribe the failure significantly more to contexts than ability, while Korean participants had the opposite tendency. Although both Chinese and Korean participants gave lower ratings on motivation attribution when the one who failed to share knowledge was a peer, the gap was markedly larger for Korean participants. Further testing on self-construal revealed that Korean participants rated individualism significantly higher than their Chinese counterparts did. The results indicated that even in two similar cultures the status effects on attribution can differ. Managers of international companies should respond accordingly to group affairs regarding status issue.


Attribution Status hierarchy Chinese culture Korean culture Self-construal 



This study was funded by a National Natural Science Foundation China grant 71661167006.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Department of Industrial EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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