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Rethinking the values - behaviour nexus in East Asian societies: an application of novel concepts, context, and experimental design
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 00:52 authored by Doris Viengkham
The study of cultural values is firmly established in the register of important research topics in international business and management (among many other) disciplines. Defined as the guiding principles of an individual's behaviour, values research plays a n integral part in attempting to disentangle the complex web that is human behaviour. Yet despite its longstanding history, many reviewers generally conclude that little progress has been made by way of advancing our understanding of values; and even less progress has been made by way of developing novel approaches that capture the complexity of values as they relate to behaviour. Further still, there is a recognition that much can be learned from the East to inspire and enrich mainstream theory and practice, where the economic rise, rates of transition, and various ideological influences across East Asian societies presents itself a fertile group for theory development. Taking stock of the various concerns expressed recently in the literature, this thesis attempts to bridge the gap through novel conceptual and methodological approaches. Drawing inspiration from East Asian philosophies which emphasise holism, dynamism, and duality, this thesis seeks to advance knowledge by focusing on three key issues. Firstly, it considers the treatment of values as relative, rather than absolute, recognising that individuals make implicit trade - offs in their value priorities. Secondly, it examines values as deriving from multiple sources and influences - traditional philosophies, economic ideologies and religiosity/spirituality - that when considered together, provide a clearer understanding of the nature of value change. Thirdly, this thesis incorporates the role of context to investigate the relative change in values on behaviour across situation. Three empirical research papers are presented, with data collected and analysed from employees of five East Asian societies: Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Study 1 advances the understanding of Confucian values by examining how the different aspects are prioritised by individuals intra-nationally, and shared cross - nationally, while also explaining workforce performance. Study 2 uses institutional logics as a foundation to examine the various spheres of influence in East Asia, being its traditional philosophies, economic ideologies and the role of religiosity and spirituality. The study offers an approach for assessing the crossvergence effect beyond traditional analyses, and adopts the Inter - ocular test to demonstrate the different combinations of values that position each society and how they have changed over time. Lastly, Study 3 applies a within - subject experimental design to measure how, at the individual level, combinations of values from these spheres of influence drive employees' propensity to compete and cooperate within different work conditions. The findings suggest that context matters in explaining the link between values and behaviour, but more importantly, that individuals make implicit trade - offs in rationalising certain actions. This thesis extends our understanding of the values - behaviour nexus in an East Asian context and makes an original contribution through a series of empirical investigations. It responds to a number of recent calls within the literature to broaden the horizon of how we deal with values and behaviour - conceptually and methodologically. Furthermore, this thesis adapts various Western - developed theories and frameworks to the East Asian landscape in a time when more indigenous management research is needed. The studies utilise an ipsative measurement approach, with each building upon the last in scope and design, resulting in three interrelated, yet independent, articles of research that establish a clear path forward for values - based research in the field.