Confucian moral roots of citizenship behaviour in China

Yong Han, Yochanan Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which Confucian moral standards may serve as a moral root of employees' organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Design/methodology/approach The approach is conceptual, based on research within the ?eld. Findings This paper suggests that the moral characteristics of Confucianism (based on a strong body of empirical studies): harmony, group orientation, ITguanxi/IT (relationships), diligence, self-learning and thrift, are the great virtues of the indigenous forms of OCB in the PRC, including helping co-worker; individual initiative and/or functional participation; group activity participation; self-development; social welfare participation; promoting company image; voice; protecting and saving company resources; interpersonal harmony and keeping the workplace clean; and keeping departmental harmony and coexistence in adversity. Originality/value First, this paper contributes to the extant knowledge as to the ways in which Confucian moral standards may affect Chinese exhibition of OCB. Second, this paper contributes to discerning Chinese economic success on employees' OCB performance with recourse to its traditional cultural heritage of Confucian moral standards. Finally, it highlights the presence of voice as a type of OCB which may be attributed to China's opening up to the West.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-52
Number of pages18
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Citizenship
  • Confucianism
  • Group behaviour
  • Organizational behaviour
  • Self-managed learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Public Administration


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