Volume 13, 2016
Charles M. Vance, Judith A. White, Kevin S. Groves, Yongsun Paik, Lin Guo
Comparing Thinking Style and Ethical Decision-Making Between Chinese and U.S. Students
Potential for Future Clash?
This study provides a comparison of thinking style and ethical decision-making patterns between 386 U.S. students and 506 students from the People’s Republic of China enrolled in undergraduate business education in their respective countries. Contrary to our expectations, the Chinese students demonstrated a significantly greater linear thinking style compared to American students. As hypothesized, both Chinese and U.S. students possessing a balanced linear and nonlinear thinking style profile demonstrated greater ethical intent across a series of ethics vignettes. Chinese students also were more likely to adopt an act utilitarian rationale, an ethical philosophy that in practice may violate government regulations or social rules to benefit one’s family instead of society for explaining their decisions across the vignettes. We conclude with a discussion of important theoretical as well as practical and potential future implications based on this comparative study.