Why do employees engage in counterproductive work behaviours? Cultural values and white-collar employees in China

Yuliani Suseno*, Chiachi Chang, Marek Hudik, Eddy Fang, Na Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines the role of cultural values in influencing counterproductive work behaviours (CWBs). In particular, it focuses on the cultural values of power distance, long-term orientation and collectivism (both horizontal and vertical collectivism) as well as the Confucian values of guanxi and harmony. In line with recent approaches in moral psychology and sociology, we consider how Confucian values become moral triggers or inhibitors for employees to engage in CWB. In addition, we consider the moderating effects of guanxi and harmony on the relationships between the cultural values of power distance, long-term orientation, collectivism and CWB. The results from a survey of 489 white-collar employees in China confirmed the importance of cultural values in influencing CWB. Specifically, our findings indicate that guanxi moderates the relationship between cultural values and CWB and acts as a moral trigger for an employee to engage in CWB. With the exception of horizontal collectivism, we also found that harmony moderates the relationship between cultural values and CWB. Specifically, harmony acts as a moral inhibitor for an employee to engage in CWB. Lastly, we discuss the implications of the findings for theory and practice in the context of managing an increasingly global workplace and business environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-421
Number of pages25
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Counterproductive work behaviour
  • Cultural values
  • Guanxi
  • Harmony
  • Morality

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