Moral intensity and the use of socially undesirable influence tactics with superiors in greater China: exploring the role of Chinese sub-culture in the hospitality industry of Hong Kong and Taiwan.


Che-Jen Su* and Kenneth K. Kwong

The purpose of this article is to integrate and extend previous research by examining the relative influence of the components of employees’ moral intensity (MI) on their use of two socially undesirable tactics: assertiveness and exchange of benefits, when attempting to influence their supervisors. It also looks at the moderating role of subculture in two greater Chinese regions. The responses of 268 Hong Kong and Taiwanese employees indicate that of all the dimensions of MI, probability of effect has the most strongly negative effect on the use of both influence tactics. Furthermore, Taiwanese culture with a relatively low power distance appears to reduce the impact on assertiveness of probability of effect, proximity, and temporal immediacy. Taiwanese culture also has relatively high uncertainty avoidance, which appears to weaken the relationship between probability of effect and exchange of benefits. Our findings provide insights into the ethicality of upward influence tactics.

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