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AJBR ISSN 1178â€?8933 Volume 2 Number 1 2012
Journal of Business Research
Copyright ÂŠ 2011 Asia Business Research Corporation Limited
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The work published is the sole responsibility of the author/s.
Professor Kim-Shyan Fam, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Professor Zhilin Yang, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Professor Ernest Cyril de Run, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
Published by Asia Business Research Corporation (ABRC) Limited PO Box 5257, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145, New Zealand
Volume 2 Number 1, 2012 ISSN 1178-8933
First published in 2012 Printed in Malaysia
Founding Editor Professor Kim-Shyan Fam Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand Editor Professor Zhilin Yang City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Managing Editor Professor Ernest Cyril de Run Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
Editorial Advisory Board Professor Russell Belk York University, Canada
Professor Susan Hart University of Strathclyde, UK
Professor John Dawson University of Stirling, UK
Professor Leslie de Chernatony University of Birmingham, UK
Professor Michael Hyman New Mexico State University, USA
Professor Phil Harris University of Chester, UK
Professor Lรกszlรณ Jรณzsa Szechenyi Istvan University, Hungary
Professor Zuohao Hu Tsinghua University, China
Professor Jรณzsef Berรกcs Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Professor Kara Chan Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Professor Samsinar Md. Sidin Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
Professor Datuk Md Zabid Abdul Rashid Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia
Editorial Review Board Professor Ashish Sinha University of New South Wales, Australia
Professor Michael Basil University of Lethbridge, Canada
Assistant Professor Amy Na Wen City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Dr Mark Davies Herriot-Watt University, Scotland
Dr David Waller University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Associate Professor Fang Wan University of Manitoba, Canada
Professor Nelson Ndubisi Nottingham University Malaysia, Malaysia
Professor David Ackerman California State University, Northbridge, USA
Dr Song Yang University of South Australia, Australia
Professor Sanjay K. Jain University of Delhi, India
Dr Fang Liu University of Western Australia, Australia
Associate Professor Palanisamy Ganesan VIT University, India
Professor Kenneth Alan Grossberg Waseda University, Japan
Dr Shankar Lal Gupta Birla Institute of Technology, India
Professor Yong Ki Lee Sejong University, Korea
Professor Badar Iqbal Aligarh Muslim University, India
Dr Pedro Brito Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Professor Ernest Cyril de Run Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
Professor José Luis Vázquez-Burguete Universidad de León, Spain
Professor HS Cheema CEO & Dean, IFEEL, India
Assistant Professor Andreas Petrou Cyprus International Institute of Management, Cyprus
Dr Anizah Hj Zainuddin Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia, Malaysia
Associate Professor Tho Nguyen University of Economics, HCM City, Vietnam
Dr Boo Ho Voon Universiti Teknologi MARA Sarawak, Malaysia
Professor Syed Anwar Hamdan Bin Mohammed University, UAE
Associate Professor Margaret Craig-Lees AUT University, New Zealand
Dr Paurav Shukla University of Brighton, UK
Dr Rosli Mohammed Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
Assistant Professor Fiona Sussan George Mason University, USA
Dr Mathew Parackal University of Otago, New Zealand
Assistant Professor Kawpong Polyorat Khonkaen University, Thailand
Associate Professor Michele Akoorie University of Waikato, New Zealand
Professor Yang Xue North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power, China
Associate Professor Joanna Scott-Kennel Waikato University, New Zealand
Professor Zoltan Veres Budapest Business School, Hungary
Professor Wang Yangron North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power, China
Asian Journal of Business Research Volume 2
Editorial Kim-Shyan Fam, Zhilin Yang and Ernest Cyril de Run
Occupational Hazards in the Workplace: A Case of an Electronic Company in Sama Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia Ahi Sarok, Jerip Susil
An Update of the Vox Populi Approach to Academic Journal Rankings: 2011 in Review
James E. Richard, Kim-Shyan Fam, Geoff Plimmer, and Stephan Gerschewski An Empirical Research on the Effect of Low-Carbon Knowledge of the Urban Residents on their Low-Corbonized Energy Consumption Behavior
Lingyun Mi and Rui Nie Priming Attitudes toward Feng Shui Wendy W. N. Wan, Peiguan Wu, Chung-Leung Luk, Kim-Shyan Fam, Jessie J. X. Lou, & H. Xu
Do Chinese Consumers Care About Corporate Social Responsibility? Shu-Chuan Chu and Jhih-Syuan Lin
Confucian Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Way Forward
Low Kim Cheng Patrick and Ang Sik Liong
Corporate Social Responsibility and Journal Rankings The Asian Journal of Business Research is published based on the concentrated effort of the Marketing in Asia Group, whose desire is to promote academic discussion in the context of business in Asia, yet with a global perspective. The Marketing in Asia Group seeks to disseminate knowledge of Asian business based on rigorous yet pragmatic research and this has seen the publications of books as well as this journal and a conference specific to the issue of business in Asia. In the spirit of sharing knowledge of Asia, this edition has two important issues for Asia and its academics. The first is Corporate Social Responsibility and the other is the ranking of journals. The evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility from the 1950s to today has taken us from changing names from Social Responsibility (SR), through to corporate sustainability including environmental concerns, corporate citizenship regardless of where in the international or global environment the business operates. Today, CSR is seen as more of an umbrella term that recognizes the multiplicity of concepts within the Triple Bottom Line with people, planet, and profit components as well as looking at economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic components. But regardless of the language and the evolution of language and therefore definitions, business is now expected to perform in compliance with CSR standards. But these standards can vary by culture, as witnessed in the ethnolinguistic and semiotic ideas of communication. Because commerce extends around the globe and often with greater resources than some countries (25 American corporations having larger 2010 revenues than 157 countries that same year), CSR is a global concept that must be better understood in the global context. It is in this context that this journal is dedicated. The globalization of business necessarily means that communication about and for the business will necessarily be subject to the semiotic interpretations of the target populations where they are operating. While this includes logos, product information, presentation, and other elements, it also means the company itself is being examined using the culturally specific semiotics. Thus, culturally specific semiotics becomes important because corporate social responsibility is implemented in many multinational and global organizations. However, the understanding of the population is what is important, and there is not a lot of literature looking to the different interpretations and understandings of corporate social responsibility in different cultures. A common theme in Asia is Confucianism and this is linked to Corporate Social Responsibility by authors from Brunei Darussalam. Another article investigates whether Chinese consumers care of Corporate Social Responsibility. Another eastern school of thought is further detailed in the paper on Feng Shui. Along the lines of 6
Corporate Social Responsibility, the first paper discusses occupational hazards in the workplace. Written by both an academician and politician, it looks at the occupational hazards faced by workers in Sarawak, Malaysia. This is one of the areas in corporate citizenship. Another paper looks at the effects of low-carbon knowledge on energy consumption. The second issue that may be of concern to academicians is the rankings of journals. Marketing in Asia Group had previously carried out a vox populi approach on academic journal rankings and this is now revisited with new data. The findings allow academicians to see the ratings of journals from the Asian perspective. We do hope that you will enjoy reading the journal and benefit from the knowledge shared. Our gratitude and thanks to all our contributors and reviewers without whom this journal will never be possible. The editorial team at the Asian Journal of Business Research encourages academic and industry-based researchers to contribute research papers and case studies for its peer-reviewed publication. Kim-Shyan Fam Zhilin Yang Ernest Cyril de Run Ina Freeman
Asian Journal of Business Research
Occupational Hazards in the Workplace: A Case of an Electronic Company in Sama Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia Ahi Sarok Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Jerip Susil Assistant Minister for Public Health, Sarawak
Abstract This article attempts to examine the state of occupational hazards and other forms of risks in a Japanese electronic company in Sama Jaya Industrial Zone in Kuching in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. It also attempts to gauge whether the employees serving in the company frequently used any form of personal protective equipment while performing their jobs at the workplace. In this regard respondents were asked to respond to a self-administered questionnaire. The findings show that less than one third of the employees wear their personal protective equipments. Employees in this company are exposed to different form of occupational hazards which includes noise pollution, ergonomic and workers are also exposed to chemicals which are used to mix raw materials to form the slurry. Keywords: Occupational Hazards, pollutions in the workplace, occupational health and safety, electronic company.
Introduction This study seeks to examine the level of compliance to Safety and Health Procedures in an Electronic Company in Sarawak. Environment safety and health is an important issue in workplace. It has socio-economic impact on the workers, the employers, and the economy of the country as a whole. There are several parameters that determine the successful compliance of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Procedures in an organization. Health and safety of employees in the working environment is a major concern of the not only government but also trade union and employers. For the past several years numbers affirmative actions have been taken to address the issue of occupational and safety. The government has been working together with workers and union in various industries in addressing pertinent issues concerning health and safety at in the workplace. This is because working environment has become increasing unendurable and more and more workers are constantly exposed 8
to all form of stress, noise, dusts, poisonous chemicals which are hazardous to workers health. Yet occupational health and safety is not a top priority among employers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Malaysia (2004) which quotes the data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999, showed an alarming rate of work-related mortality. The ILO estimated about 1.1.million mortalities per year (based on 1990-95 data- source ILO 1999). Of this 25% were due to injuries, 15% cardiovascular, 21 % chronic respiratory diseases, 5% due to cancer and 34% others. On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) Report 1997 on Occupational Health also reported a similar trend in workers mortality. There were 120 million occupational accidents reported with 220,000 ended in deaths, 160 million reported with occupational illness (30-40 million may lead to chronic diseases & 10% to permanent disability). What makes it more alarming problem is that only 5-10% of workers in developing countries and 2050% in industrialized countries have access to adequate occupational service. A number of implications can be drawn based on the above problems. First it either implies that there is not much emphasis given on the importance of implementing OSH policies. Or secondly, even with the implementation of OSH policies, the level of compliance by the industries may be relatively low. The dynamics of accidents and illnesses at the work place can be understood from some basic concepts namely: relationship between work and health; the worker with his pre-existent health status enters into a work place. Factors that influence around him while at work are hazards which are physical, chemical, biological and ergonomic in nature. The workers protective mechanism that is available is the relevant regulations and relevant policies that are in place; with this in mind the focus of occupational health becomes three pronged; health promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well being of all workers; prevention of adverse health effects due to work; and, improving working environment and work to become conducive to health and safety. Taking the cue from the above, a study to asses the types of occupational hazards was carried out in an electronic company at Samajaya Industrial Zone. This electronic company is a Japanese-based Electronic Manufacturing company operating in Kuching, the state capital of the east Malaysian state of Sarawak. It has an established Safety and Health Committee and implements the Occupational Safety and Health Management system to comply with the Occupational, Safety, and Health Act (OSHA) 1994. This electronic company manufactures multi-layered capacitors for electronic uses for various electronic gadgets. The capacitors functions as an energy source in electrical appliances and to sieve unwanted waves within the circuit. The factory is located within an Industrial site in Sama Jaya Industrial Zone in Kuching, Sarawak. It is approximately three kilometers away from residential area of Muara Tabuan. Road access is convenient. The company has a built up area on a 16 hectare land. The compound is well-landscaped, adequate spaces for car parks; a resting area for cigarette smokers is made available. As of August 2006, the company employs 3,638 employees in various capacities. There is a staff cafeteria which caters
for free meals for the all the workers. The company also provides lockers for all the employees to store their personal belongings while they are on duty.
Literature Review Occupational hazards in the workplace have always been the prime concern for policy makers, stakeholders and researchers. Occupational hazards occur in all sectors of employment be in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and service industry. In the agriculture sector, Kanniah (1984) argues that occupational hazards are prevalent among farmers who are exposed to hazardous pesticides and it effects on the agricultural workers. He found out that farmers who use pesticides suffer from skin irritations, and workers who were involved in mixing of chemicals using their bare hand, and were not provided with any personal protective equipment (PPE), except cotton mask. He also reports that Malaysian farmers who had used pesticides complained of experiencing some form of illness such as drowsiness, headaches, skin irritation and breathing difficulties. While Jamilah Arifin (1984) studies the health and safety problem among women workers in the manufacturing industries. She found out that women workers are engaged in routine fragmented repetitive work and they are exposed to three types of hazards namely chemical, radiation, eye-strained, headache and eye-diseases. Ramachandran (1984) discusses different types of occupational hazards experienced by workers in the textile industry. He found out that workers are exposed to chemical hazards such as sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, dichlorobenzene, and pentachlorophenol. In addition, workers are also exposed to heat and humidity because certain processes of production in a textile factory require high temperature and humidity. Most of the process need temperature above the accepted upper safe limits and thus workers are faced with health problem. There are a number of behavioral influences on the occurrence of accidents and injuries in the workplace (Petersen, 1984). The first concerns the role of specific acts or tasks that occur in the process of completing or performing ones prescribed duties. A typical example is the act of placing one's hand in the way of a press or a blade to remove an obstruction and in the process suffering a cut or other injury. Similarly, the act of using a seat belt is considered a safe act that reduces the risk of serious injury following a collision. These and other acts or procedures engaged in while carrying out job duties are considered behavioral influences on the occurrences of accidents or injuries. Peterson (1984) further argues that construction workers are highly exposed to occupational hazard than any other workers. Workers in highway and road construction suffer from allergies, cancer damage to the central nervous system and physical stress. While workers in the piling and foundation works suffer form impaired hearing, pulmonary disease, and physical stress. Hazardous environment at construction sites also give rise to accidents which are often fatal. Lee (2007) suggests that the formulation and implementation of good occupational safety and health (OSH) management system by employers is the best answer to reduce accidents as well as to enhance safety and health at the work place. One of the conditions for the success in the implementation of OSH Act 1994 was the setting up 10
of an OSH management system. The responsibility of OSH in the workplace rested equally on those created the risk as well as those who have to work with the risk. Workers must be assured of their right to a safe and healthy work environment. Lee (2007) also suggests that there is a need to provide workers with information, education and training so that they would know best how to protect themselves. Through the implementation of safe work procedures and usage of personal protective equipments (PPE), workers would be prevented from accidents. Making the workplace safe is a joint responsibility of both the employers and the workers. Safety should be a key issue at every workplace. Safety training for employees is the key to achieving a successful safety program and management must invest in safety. Lee (2007) stresses that it is the responsibility of management to ensure that safety must be a culture of the organization, not just a priority. Surveys conducted by Sahabat Alam Malaysia or Friend of the Earth Malaysia shown that occupational hazards in electronic industries include accidents, chemical poisoning, lung disorder, dermatitis, locomotors, noise, stress and mental problems. Poor eye sight is just one of the many minor problems. Exposed to over a hundred of chemicals, many of them toxic-like benzene, formaldehyde, cadmium, arsenic and zinc, the workers are prone to headache. The more serious long term effects could cause convulsion, diarrhea, pneumonia, kidney damage, bone morrow damage, violent shivering, cancer related diseases and even death (Sahabat Alam, 1984: 192). Workers who are employed in electronic company are mostly women. They are engaged in fragmented, repetitive work which is essentially boring. Electronic companies which engaged workers insist on a 20-20 vision and workers would peer through microscope between six to seven hours a day. All these showed that occupational hazards really occur in the workplace.
Methodology This study employs a descriptive research design using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods. To execute the quantitative design the study utilized the survey method to collect the quantitative data. The population of this study comprises of employees of a company in Sarawak which currently employs about 3,638 persons. Since it is not feasible to for all employees to be selected as respondents, this study have selected workers who are exposed to various hazards are identified as the population of the study. Thus this study only chooses 8.25 % (300 employees) of the total population as the sample of the study. A quota sampling technique for data collection from the respondents was used. The purpose of employing a quota sampling technique enables the researcher to collect the data from the employees employed by the company at the First Selection Unit, the Electrical Characteristic Selection Unit, Second Selection Unit, Packaging and Shipping Units within the company. These units were chosen because these groups of workers are constantly exposed to all short of hazards in the workplace in the organization. In addition, all workers who take more than 50 per cent of their working time in these processes units will be 11
considered as respondents. The sampling size was 300 respondents. This makes the confidence interval of 95 per cent. A written consent from each worker is obtained before each respondent answers the questionnaires. Table1 shows the total number of respondents which had been assigned to fill up the study questionnaires.
Table 1: Total Number of respondents according to Units Name of Unit No. of respondents First Selection Unit 60 Electrical Characteristic Selection Unit 60 Second Selection Unit 60 Packaging 60 Shipping 60 Total 300
Percent 20 % 20 % 20 % 20 % 20 % 100 %
To execute the qualitative design, this study chooses to conduct a review of the OSH Procedures at the company. It was followed by a survey, and other subsequent visits to observe work pattern, behavior of the respondents. Respondents were also asked of their opinions of the job, and attitudes towards OSH at their workplace. Selfadministered questioners were given to the OSH officer for his distribution to respondents. During the first visits there was a briefing on the company itself and some aspects of the Safety and Health managements practice were given as information. The subjective risk assessment of hazard was done during the site visit to the factory. The assessment was carried out during the site visit. During the site visit the authors were briefed by the management of the company of their OSH Management Systems. Apart from that workers were observed at their workplace on whether they use their PPE. In addition we were getting relevant information on OSH compliance from them. Next we identified the various types of hazards found at the work place. This was done by examining the practices of Health and Safety by the workers and examining the Materials and Chemical Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) found at the factory. The purpose was to identify the types of hazard faced by the respondents. After the subjective risk assessment of hazard was also carried out at the workplace, a review of the existing health surveillance program was also undertaken. The purpose was to see whether the management and employees comply with the OSH management systems. In assessing the hazard level, there are several factors being considered. These factors include, the type of hazard, the effect on health status of the respondents, existing control measures, persons at risk; employer, employee, supplier, visitor.
Findings and Discussions Generally the working environment of the workers in the company is clean and tidy. Signage of Safety and Health policy are seen in the workplaces and instructions on 12
these are clear. The lighting was good, the work environment is well lighted; Ventilation was good with air outlet vent; there is significant noise level from the sorting machines. It was informed the noise level was less 80dc. None of the staff were wearing any ear protection device. It was also found out that there was also no noise isolation barrier at the workplace. Worker working in any electronic industry are often exposed to various types of risks in their work place. In this study, the respondents were asked to name the types of risks while they were employed by the company. The findings are shown in Table 2 below. Table 2: Respondents responses on exposure to risks in the workplace Types of risks Frequency (n) Percent (%) Heat stress 6 2.6 Noise pollution 70 30.4 Lifting heavy objects 14 6.1 Working with awkward positions 9 3.9 Exposure to chemicals 6 2.6 Handling heavy machinery 5 2.2 Working with moving objects 15 6.5 All of the above 105 45.6 The findings of this study showed that 45.6% of the respondents are exposed to combination of risks types namely heat stress, noise pollution, lifting of heavy objects, working with awkward positions, exposure to chemicals, handling of heavy machineries and working with moving objects such as trolleys. In addition, 2.6 percent are exposed to heat stress, 30.4 percent exposed to noise pollution. Noise pollution is sometime derived from the factoryâ€™s machineries. There were also 6.1 percent who were exposed to the risk of lifting heavy objects, while another 6.5 percent are exposed to risks when working with moving objects such as driving the forklifts. Most of those who were exposed to lifting heavy objects and moving objects are those employed in the packaging unit. Health conditions of the respondents There were mixed responses received from the respondents when they were asked to respond to their health conditions. A small minority (7.4 %) claimed that they have suffered from burns, 13 percent suffered from noise induced hearing loss. Some (8.3 %) suffered from lower back pain. Others (5.7 %) were subjected to dust allergy. A small percentage (8.3 %) suffered from burns and loss of hearing, 6.1 percent suffered from burns and dust allergy, and another 2.6 percent suffer from hearing loss and lower back pain. There were two respondents have had suffered from some form of acute sickness. One suffered from asthma and the other tuberculosis. Table 3 shows the present heath status of the respondents.
Table 3: Respondentsâ€™ responses on awareness of health conditions Types of health conditions Frequency (n) Percent (%) Burns 17 7.4 Noise induced hearing loss 32 13.0 Lower back pain 19 8.3 Neck Stiffness 2 0.9 Hand arm vibration syndrome 2 0.9 Asthma 1 0.4 Tuberculosis 1 0.4 Dust allergy 13 5.7 Burns and hearing loss 19 8.3 Noise and lower back pain 6 2.6 The findings of the survey in Table 4 show that less than one third (29.1%) wear gloves. Those who wear gloves are technicians who handle hazardous chemicals. The findings also found out only a small minority (2.6%) wear ear plug, 20.0 percent use protective goggles, 31.7% wear nose cover and 19.1 percent wear safety boots. Form this finding we can infer that majority of the workers do not practice safety precaution as far as the use of PPE are concerned. Based on the finding it was found that the majority of the employees do not wear their PPE in spite the fact that it is mandatory for them to wear PPP as require by the OSHA. Thus it can be conclude that most of the workers in this electronic company are exposed to occupational hazard in the workplace. Table 4: Types of Personal Protective Equipment Used in the Factory Types of PPE Frequency Percent Gloves 67 29.1 Ear Plug 6 2.6 Protective goggles 46 20.0 Nose cover 73 31.7 Safety boots 44 19.1 Exposure to hazards The major findings of this study show that the workers in this electronic company are exposed to different types of hazard at the workplace. These groups are highly skilled technicians, whose responsibilities are to ensure that the final products are of quality before it finally ends up in packaging. All the work processes are full computerized and mechanized. The multi-layered capacitor chips are screened by machines which run with significant noise levels. The manufacturing processes require the workers to examine the parts in the machine counters, standing and walking most of the time and occasionally sitting for final check up to the collecting tray. These groups are the most exposed to noise pollution as they in direct contact with the quality sorting machines. Their long exposure to noise may cause hearing impairment. During the observation it was found that the 14
company has already established a permanent Occupational Safety and Health Committee. This committee is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the OSH Policy. The committee is also actively monitoring workers compliance towards the companyâ€™s OSH rules and regulations. The findings from the inspection revealed that some of the technicians work with computers which are not ergonomically suitable. The chairs are too were found to be un-ergonomic. Exposure to such working environment makes them susceptible to musculo-skeletal disease (MSD). The technician also use microscope to examine parts. This itself is another ergonomic factor which can cause strain to the eyes and musculo-skeletal body parts. Apart from the above, a qualitative risk assessment was also carried out. The purpose is for determining the working hours of each work unit and the exposure to risk. An assessment was also carried out to measure the exposure level by means of instrument measurement such as thermometer for heat, noise mapping using noise dosimeter. Qualitative risk assessment were confined to: The sequence of basic job step in the work processes; hazard identification; hazard and effects; current control measure instituted in the department; risk assessment assessed through the following criteria; recommended control measure; recommended Health Surveillance to the department; and, law and regulation and code of practice associated occupational hazard in the workplace. Result of risk assessment indicated that the respondents to extent are being exposed to hazard at their workplace. Table 5 shows four main sources of hazard in this electronic company. Employees from the Electrical Characteristic Selection (ECS) whose job are to ensure that the parts have the correct electrical capabilities, are subject to noise from the compression. This is a physical form of hazard which the ears are susceptible to noise levels. Workers who work in these stations do not use their earmuffs. There was no signage instruction for them to do so. They admit that it is cumbersome to put on earmuffs each time the test is conducted. Table 5: Source and Classification of Hazard Type Source of hazard Hazard 1 Noise from compression chamber
Hazard classification Physical
Hazard 2 Hazard 3 Hazard 4
Ergonomic Ergonomic Physical and environmental
Chair is stiff and not adjustable Microscope Chemicals
On the site inspections made show that some of the workers are exposed to noise. High noise levels can cause hearing impairment. When the noise mapping was done using the management and noise levels were found at 65dB at the Electrical Characteristic Selection (ECS) machine area, 50 dB at the computer booths area at the recording workstations. The computer booth area is about 10 meters away from the ECS. There was no barrier wall dividing the computer booth ad the ECS machine area. Under the First Schedule of the Factories and Machine Act (FMA), 1967 (Permissible Exposure Limits), hearing impairment can occur if the exposure to 15
noise level of more than 85 dB persist (more than 16hours-FMA) At 65 dB hearing may occur if the exposure time prolong for years. The workers near to the ECS machine, and those who use the ECS machine were told to use earmuffs. Exposure to Chemicals Employees of this factory were found to be exposed to different types of chemicals only six different types of the chemicals analyzed by using the Chemical Health Risk Assessment. The format used was based on the guidelines in the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) handbook. The six chemicals that were analyzed using the CHRA were menthol, nickel conductive paste, ammonia solution, AP -1 (alcohol), toluene, and hydrochloric acid. Table 6 shows some of the processes which involve chemicals. Methanol is used for drying and cleaning of product as well as to clean the engine. It is widely used in the Plating, Manufacturing Department of the factory. Nickel conductive paste is used in the Printing Section and the Terminal Electrode process. It is use to dilute and stabilize nickel. Ammonia solution is used in the Plating Section. It is a pH adjustment for product quality. While AP-1 (Alcohol) is used in the Mixing, Compressing Printing processes. It is sometimes mixed with the other solvent to produce slurry and also cleaning of the factoryâ€™s equipments. Toulene is used in the printing process and mixed with other chemicals to produce slurry. Lastly, hydrochloric acid is used in the Plating Section for water treatment. Table 6: Works Process in the Factory Involves Chemicals Chemical Name Section / Process Remarks (usage) Plating Drying and cleaning of product Methanol Manufacturing machine cleaning Engineering use to dilute and stabilize the Insatsu (Printing) Nickel Conductive nickel amount Paste Gaiden (Terminal use to dilute and stabilize the Electrode) nickel amount Ammonia Solution Plating pH adjustment for product quality Mixed with other solvent to Haigou (Mixing) produce slurry AP-1 (Alcohol) Cleaning process / Equipment Atchaku (Compressing) cleaning equipment Insatsu cleaning equipment Mixed with other solvent to Toulene Haigou( Printing) produce slurry Regeneration of DI water Hydrochloric Acid Plating (Treatment) Ergonomics Hazard This study also found out that the employees are also exposed to ergonomics hazards. Workers are found sitting for long hours with bent back while they were examining parts and the chairs doe not give them mobility. If this situation persists for a long 16
period of time the workers are susceptible to injury. Their back muscles are strained and the staffs are at risk of having Musculo-Skeletal Disease (MSD). This is caused by poor sitting position. As such the workers have to correct their sitting position. In view of this, the workers were advised to sit correctly and the management was also advised to change the chairs to fit the workers ergonomically. Employees who scrutinize parts using microscope are also exposed to ergonomics hazard. Long hours peering into the microscope can cause neck stiffness, eye strain and other MSD. The points of injury are the eyes and the musculo-skeletal system. The consequences of this are that it causes headaches which may cause poor concentration and MSD. As a control measure, a proper ergonomic chair for the workers used is deemed desirable. Apart from that, workers exposed to this type of hazard need to adequately rest their eye balls. When investigations were done by using the Chemical Hazard Risk Assessment (CHRA) technique, there were 180 different types of chemicals used by the company. The quantities are relatively small. In addition the company MSDS and it is available to all workers. About 2.6 percent of the respondents were exposed to chemicals. Chemicals Safety Data Sheet (CSDS) was available within the factory for easy reference. All labeling were according to regulations.
Conclusions From the findings of this study we can infer that employees of this electronic company are exposed to various forms of hazards at their workplace. To ascertain whether the workers of the factors are exposed to some form of occupational hazards, they were asked if the workers wear their protection equipments (PPE) such as helmet, gloves, ear plug, goggles, nose cover, protective overcoats and safety boots. From the responses we gathered it is clear that only a small percentage of the employees wear their PPE. In addition, workers in this electronic company are also exposed to ergonomics hazard. Those workers who are exposed to ergonomic hazard are those who have to sit for long hours in chairs which inhibit their mobility and those who have to scrutinize parts by peeping in the microscope. Technicians are also exposed to chemical hazard. Chemical used by the factory is also a major source of both physical and environmental hazard. Chemical can be a physical hazard when it accidentally spills on the workers body. Chemicals can also cause environmental hazards when the residues are not being disposed of properly by the workers.
References Department of Occupational Safety and Health. (2000). Ministry of Human Resource Malaysia. Guidelines on Medical Surveillance: Use and Standard of Exposure of Chemicals Hazardous to Health). Jamilah Arifin. (1984). â€œHealth and Safety Problems Among Women Workers in the Manufacturing Industriesâ€? in Sahabat Alam Malaysia (1984) Hazardous Industries and Workers Health. Penang: Sahabat Alam Malaysia.
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Asian Journal of Business Research
An Update of the Vox Populi Approach to Academic Journal Rankings: 2011 in Review James E. Richard Victoria University of Wellington Kim-Shyan Fam Victoria University of Wellington Geoff Plimmer Victoria University of Wellington Stephan Gerschewski Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Abstract The ranking of academic journals continues to be a contentious issue in the tertiary education environment. Academics dependency on journal ranking for tenure and promotion, based on perceived quality and prestige of journals, ensures debate over what constitutes a ‘good’ journal publication. This study utilises the vox populi MAG score established in previous research in order to continue the assessment of journal ranking and impact in the field of marketing. The current findings are consistent with the previous 2009 study; the top six journals remain the same, there is little variation within the top 30 journal rankings, although regional differences are apparent. The ranking results from a broad range of academics continue to provide a comprehensive measure of journal impact from the perspective of academics. Keywords: Journal ranking, impact factor, vox populi, marketing, ranking criteria
Introduction Journal rankings and academic quality continues to attract attention from social science academics, education management and policy makers (Lee, 2011). Publishing in “A” journals have become synonymous for academic quality, reflecting the research value of academics, and representing institutional excellence. Fortunately (or unfortunately), a number of “quality” journal lists exist (e.g., Scopus, SSCI, UTD, RAE/REF, ABDC) which have been used to influence academic hiring, tenure, promotion decisions, and individual evaluation (Saunders and Wong, 2011). 19
This study is the second in a planned series of triennial longitudinal studies examining the ranking of journals by academics around the world, including the personal and career impact on academics of publishing in ranked journals. The current paper only presents the journal ranking data for discussion. As in the previous study (Fam et al., 2011), the research attempts to understand the effect of journal ranking from the ‘contributor’ perspective, using the vox populi approach; that any judgment based on the intelligence of the masses will be free of passion and uninfluenced by rhetoric (Galton, 1907). More recently, research on the “wisdom of crowds” has found public opinion to be an effective predictive tool because of the capacity to synthesise large amounts of information and improve their judgement (Hastie and Kameda, 2005; Mannes, 2009; Soll and Larrick, 2009; Surowiecki, 2004). This approach attempts to address the direction suggested by Steward and Lewis (2010) that “…efforts aimed at creating new perspectives on appraising the quality of journals in Marketing should be encouraged”. Educational institutions continue to use publishing metrics to measure their influence, progress and research merit. There are a number of ostensibly objective methods used to rank or rate academic journals; however, there is no one ‘correct’ ranking methodology which supersedes all others. It is to the benefit of the Marketing discipline that alternative perspectives are considered and validated (Steward and Lewis, 2010). The study contributes to the ongoing discourse on business research quality assessment and journal ranking by examining marketing academic publication ranking across a representative academic spectrum (e.g., from lecturers to professors), not solely based on leading business schools or the academic elite (Theoharakis and Hirst, 2002; Van Fleet et al., 2000). In addition the study considers the relative impact of a number of journal ranking criteria, the journals in which academics actually publish, and differences between regions. The vox populi approach, considering views from a wide range of academics from around the world provides a more balanced view of journal quality. Finally, the study compares the results against two other generally accepted impact factor based journal ranking lists.
Methodology Academics were asked to freely recall and nominate up to ten journals. This unaided “top-of-the-mind” method is used extensively in measuring advertisement effectiveness and brand recall as it accesses schema and long term memory without cues (Bagozzi and Silk, 1983; Finn, 1992; Krugman, 1986; Shapiro and Krishnan, 2001; Stapel, 1998; Till and Baack, 2005). In the current case, this method was used to assess academics awareness of ‘A” grade journals. Sampling To implement the vox populi sampling approach, this study developed a sampling frame of academics by scanning marketing, tourism, and international business departmental web sites of universities across the five continents. In total, 8,355 20
potential respondents were identified from Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ranking 2010 List, Times Supplement University Ranking 2010 List (excluding academics not listed on the Shanghai Jiao Tong List), ANZMAC Conference Directory of Academics, and a further 300 universities located in South Africa, Asia/South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Middle East, South America and Europe that were not present on any of the above lists. Respondents included academics from all levels (lecturers, senior lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and chair professors). Two weeks following the initial email invitation, a follow-up email was sent. Survey Instrument The survey instrument consisted of three sections. The first section asked respondents to recall up to ten A-grade journals, and to indicate which of these journals respondents had published in since 2006. In addition the respondents were asked to list any other journals they had published in. The second section addressed career, life-balance, family and health considerations with respect to publishing, while the third section collected demographic information.
Result Of the 8,355 potential respondents contacted by email, 825 returned out-of office auto-generated messages, 982 had â€œundeliverableâ€? e-mails (e.g., invalid e-mail addresses), 87 others declined to participate and 4,641 provided no response to either email. In total 1,820 usable responses were collected giving an overall response rate of 21.8%. Following data cleaning and verification, the final sample size was 1,005 cases (12.0%). This number of respondents was a significant (186%) increase from the previous study (Fam et al., 2011). The respondents were full-time academics from marketing, tourism or international business. The file was examined visually for appropriate journal names, standard journal names (from the journal site) were adopted and the data reviewed and journal names changed to reflect the standard names. Formulas were created to sort journals and the different ranking methods were calculated. The cleaned and verified data was then input into SPSS, where CFA and EFA were completed for each of the constructs. Survey data Analysis Table 1 indicates that the single highest numbers of respondents were mid-career, aged 35 to 44 (22%), while 10% (101) were in their early career. The majority of the respondents 34.4% (aged 45 to 64) were well established in their academic career. There were 471 males (46.9%) and 210 females (20.9%), 324 respondents did not report their gender.
Table 1: Age demographics Age Frequency Percent 25 to 34 101 10.0 35 to 44 221 22.0 45 to 54 173 17.2 55 to 64 173 17.2 65 to 70 35 3.5 71 or over 16 1.6 Missing 286 28.5 1005 100 The majority of respondents are from the United States of America (31.7%), followed by the United Kingdom (9.4%) Australia (7.9%), Canada (4.3%) and New Zealand (3.7%), see Table 2. This compares favourably with the previous survey, although 285 (28.3%) respondents did not provide their country of residence, with 222 (41.3%) respondents from the United States and Canada, 142 (26.3%) from UK and Europe, 114 (21.2%) from Australia and New Zealand, and 60 (11.2%) from Asia and Africa. Table 2: Respondents by country Country Frequency Percent Country United States of America 319 31.7 Greece United Kingdom 94 9.4 Israel Australia 79 7.9 Japan Canada 43 4.3 Portugal New Zealand 37 3.7 Saudi Arabia Hong Kong 15 1.5 Singapore France 14 1.4 Turkey Netherlands 14 1.4 Viet Nam Sweden 10 1.0 Bangladesh Austria 9 0.9 Belgium China 9 0.9 Brazil Malaysia 9 0.9 Egypt Norway 9 0.9 Hungary South Africa 7 0.7 Indonesia Denmark 5 0.5 Poland India 5 0.5 Republic of Korea Ireland 4 0.4 Spain Finland 3 0.3 Switzerland Germany 3 0.3 United Arab Emirates United Republic Thailand 3 0.3 Tanzania Missing Total
Frequency Percent 2 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.2 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 1 0.1 of
Journal Ranking The six A* journals included Journal of Marketing with the highest number of unaided recalls, 714 (9.9%), followed by Journal of Marketing Research with 659 (9.2%) unaided recalls, Journal of Consumer Research with 598 (8.3%), Marketing Science with 470 (6.5%), Journal of Academy of Marketing Science with 389 (5.4%), and the Journal of Retailing with 282 (3.9%). Overall, the academics who responded indicated that they had published 1,444 articles in 501 journals. Of these articles, 688 (47.6%) were published in the top ten journals with 93 (6.4%) papers published in the Journal of Marketing, 82 (5.7%) papers in the Journal of Marketing Research, 86 (6.0%) papers in the Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (3.1%) papers in Marketing Science, 74 (5.1%) papers in the Journal of Academy of Marketing Science and 37 (2.6%) papers in the Journal of Retailing. A total of 417 papers were published in the six top-ranked journals, see Table 3. Table 3: A* Publications by region A* Journals Overall NA UK ANZ Journal of Marketing 93 49 2 2 Journal of Marketing Research 82 40 1 2 Journal of Consumer Research 86 55 0 2 Marketing Science 45 21 1 4 Journal of Academy of Marketing Science 74 44 1 6 Journal of Retailing 37 20 1 2 Total 417 229 6 18
Asia Europe ROW 3 11 1 3 8 0 3 4 1 2 6 0 7 4 0 2 4 0 20 37 2
Note: See Appendix A for the list of countries included in each region. ROW = Rest of the World.
Regionally, US academics reported the highest number of publications in the Journal of Marketing (43, Canada with 6), and the highest number of A* publications overall with 202, (Canada had 27 A* publications). Table 4 shows that although the top ten rankings are similar, there are some significant regional differences. Outside North America international and European related journals are ranked higher, especially by the UK respondents. The Journal of Service Research is ranked highest by Australia and New Zealand, which may represent an academic focus on service in the area, while the UK respondents rank European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, and Industrial Marketing Management altogether higher than most other regions. Acta Commercii is a an obvious outlier, it is a South African management journal ranked within the top ten by those respondents designated in the rest of the world, due to the small number of respondents (15) overall.
Table 4: Top ten journals as ranked by regions Journal Journal of Marketing Journal of Marketing Research Journal of Consumer Research Marketing Science Journal of Academy of Marketing Science Journal of Retailing Journal of Consumer Psychology Journal of Advertising Management Science Journal of Business Research Academy of Management Journal Journal of International Business Studies International Journal of Research in Marketing Journal of Service Research Industrial Marketing Management European Journal of Marketing Journal of Marketing Management Acta Commercii
Journal Rank by Region NA ANZ UK Eur Asia ROW 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 4 7 6 4 5 3 5 4 4 6 4 5 6 8 5 7 6 10 29 14 14 7 9 8 11 26 20 22 14 8 31 37 14 14 9 8 19 10 6 10 10 8 11 23 12 14 8 10 11 16 11 14 10 6 15 12 9 5 8 6 17 26 14 22 14 10 26 13 26 17 9 8 31 18 5 7 10 6 52 11 34 14 8 10
Note: the relative position of journals outside of other regionâ€™s top ten are shown in small italicised font.
To explore whether the large number of US respondents biased the journal rankings, the data was analysed without the US data (n=400), see Appendix D for details of the top 100 journals. There were no significant differences in the top six rankings without the US data. However, it is evident that the non-US data shows a more international flavour, with European Journal of Marketing and International Journal of Research in Marketing moving to 7th and 8th place and an overall increase in the number of international journals below the top 30, including more eclectic journals. The US and non-US data appear similar through the top 29 rankings; however the US data includes more classically (quantitative and US) focused journals. Ranking criteria In addition to the journal ranking exercise, each respondent was also asked to indicate the relative importance (weighting) of seven factors in ranking journals, see Table 5. In order to ensure relative weighting was considered, each respondent provided a weighting for each of the seven factors which had to total to 100%.
Table 5: Journal ranking criteria as perceived by respondents Criteria Impact factor Perceptive studies Contribution to knowledge Contribution to career Rejection rate Useful for research students Esteem factors
Weight 24.64 18.84 18.48 10.87 9.59 8.90 8.68
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
The results showed that overall impact factor provided the greatest impact on ranking, with a weighting of 24.6, but was not the only criteria considered important. The use of perceptive studies to rank the journals and contribution to knowledge were also major contributors to journal ranking. MAG Score MAG Scholar is the abbreviation for the Marketing in Asia Group (www.magscholar.com) which initiated and supports the ongoing study. The study designed a formula to capture the relative standing of these journals. Since each journal has its own features and merits, the first unaided recalled journal was allocated more weight than the second, third, fourth, and so on, until the tenth position. The sum of each journal’s value was labelled the MAG score, and this score was used to rank the journal relative to the others, see Appendix B for example. MAG score = ∑j((Rij /∑Tj))/Rankj)
Note: Rij is the number of unaided recalls for the ith journal (i = 1 - 632) with jth rank (j = 1, 2, 3, …, 10), and T is the total number of unaided recalls for all journals with rank j. Rankj represents the rank of the journal.
In addition, a MAG index was computed where a value of “100” was attributed to the number 1 journal. The indices for the remaining journals were calculated based on their respective MAG scores relative to the number 1 journal. Table 6 contains the top 50 MAG journals based on the number of journal recalls; the MAG scores combined with the MAG index was used to guide the rank separations. For comparative purposes, the table also shows the 2009 MAG journal ranking. The complete list of journal rankings can be found at www.magscholar.com .
Table 6: Top 50 Marketing journals and MAG scores Rank
2011 Total MAG 2011 2009 Journal Recalls Score 1 1 Journal of Marketing 714 0.536 2 2 Journal of Marketing Research 659 0.330 3 3 Journal of Consumer Research 598 0.272 4 4 Marketing Science 470 0.161 5 5 Journal of Academy of Marketing Science 389 0.109 6 6 Journal of Retailing 282 0.080 7 14 Academy of Management Journal 139 0.067 8 7 Journal of International Business Studies 137 0.059 9 16 Journal of Consumer Psychology 184 0.057 10 9 Journal of Business Research 166 0.051 11 11 Management Science 148 0.050 12 23 Strategic Management Journal 119 0.049 13 8 European Journal of Marketing 130 0.045 14 15 Academy of Management Review 99 0.044 15 10 International Journal of Research in Marketing 148 0.040 16 13 Journal of Advertising 118 0.037 17 12 Annals of Tourism Research 49 0.027 18 26 Administrative Science Quarterly 67 0.026 19 27 Journal of Service Research 79 0.025 20 25 Industrial Marketing Management 71 0.023 21 21 Journal of Advertising Research 66 0.022 22 18 Tourism Management 41 0.021 23 33 Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 63 0.020 24 28 Journal of Marketing Management 58 0.019 25 20 Marketing Letters 56 0.017 26 30 Journal of International Marketing 56 0.016 27 24 Harvard Business Review 47 0.016 28 41 Psychology & Marketing 48 0.016 29 29 Journal of Travel Research 31 0.015 30 36 Journal of Product Innovation Management 40 0.015 31 40 Journal of Business Ethics 39 0.015 32 46 Organization Science 46 0.014 33 109 Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice 30 0.014 34 45 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 40 0.013 35 95 Journal of Business Venturing 29 0.013 36 128 Journal of Operations Management 21 0.012 37 61 Journal of Business Logistics 17 0.012 38 84 Journal of Applied Psychology 29 0.011 39 60 Journal of Consumer Behavior 34 0.010 40 62 Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 30 0.010 41 101 Journal of Macromarketing 28 0.010 42 87 Journal of Management 35 0.010 43 88 Journal of Management Studies 30 0.010 44 113 Organization Studies 22 0.009 45 77 American Economic Review 15 0.009 46 79 Journal of World Business 24 0.008 47 22 Journal of Services Marketing 26 0.008 48 90 Journal of Sustainable Tourism 21 0.008 49 89 Quantitative Marketing and Economics 29 0.008 50 NR Research Policy 19 0.007 Note: âˆ† = difference between JM MAG score multiplied by 1000. NR = not ranked
MAG Index 100.00 61.50 50.74 29.94 20.35 14.88 12.47 10.98 10.68 9.50 9.25 9.11 8.33 8.12 7.48 6.83 5.01 4.92 4.67 4.34 4.18 3.98 3.65 3.56 3.13 3.03 3.00 2.98 2.87 2.74 2.72 2.61 2.51 2.40 2.40 2.23 2.14 1.97 1.87 1.86 1.85 1.79 1.77 1.71 1.61 1.56 1.47 1.46 1.39 1.37
206.43 57.72 111.51 51.40 29.35 12.91 8.00 1.61 6.35 1.32 4.93 4.20 1.15 3.43 0.22 9.79 0.49 1.34 1.74 0.84 1.09 1.76 0.49 2.29 0.57 0.16 0.11 0.57 0.70 0.13 0.58 0.53 0.59 0.00 0.90 0.46 0.92 0.57 0.02 0.07 0.32 0.10 0.32 0.18 0.30 0.46 0.05 0.38 0.12 0.60
A* A* A* A* A* A* A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B
Validation To further validate the MAG score, correlation analysis of the top 100 MAG score journals was undertaken against the SSCI and Scopus indices (Fam et al., 2011; Steward and Lewis, 2010), see Appendix C. In total 89 of the top 100 MAG Scholar journals are included in the SCOPUS index, while 66 are included in the SSCI database. As shown in Table 7, the correlation between the MAG scholar ranked journals and the Scopus, r(87) = .40, p < .01, and SSCI, r(64) = .34, p < .05, rankings are positive and significant. This indicates that the MAG Scholar list is broadly similar to both the Scopus and SSCI indices. Table 7: Correlation Matrix: MAG, Scopus and SSCI ranking MAG Scopus SSCI
MAG 1 .40** .34*
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
Conclusion In an educational environment that considers performance on the basis of objective measures, publishing in highly ranked journals are an important indicator of perceived quality. The key questions are not; are the rankings valid or without bias?, but “are there other valid measures of journals rankings?” and “do the rankings indicate quality?” (Lee, 2011). This study used the vox populi approach in order to introduce an element of ‘crowd sourcing’ from which to enhance and augment the spectrum of academically ranked journals in the marketing domain (Mannes, 2009). As Steward and Lewis (2010) suggest, Marketing journals are ultimately appraised by members of the Marketing research community, and investigating a variety of validated ranking measures will only “…strengthen the scientific integrity of the Marketing discipline …” The top six journals, regardless of region, are: Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, and the Journal of Retailing. These results are similar to other studies identified in the literature (Steward and Lewis, 2010). The contribution from this study is the use of a wide spectrum of academics across multiple countries to gather the ranking data; thus the ranking provides an international perspective by design. In addition, the high correlation results with Scopus and SSCI provides evidence that the MAG rankings are reliable when compared against other ranking indices (Steward and Lewis). The results also demonstrate that the six top ranked journals remain the most highly ranked even when the US data is removed. This implies a uniform recognition of quality and a consistency of quality perception internationally. More interestingly is the divergence of journal rankings, below the top six. The data set without US data 27
indicates an emphasis on international marketing journals, while the data set including US data rank general management journals higher. Although there are strong correlations between the MAG method, Scopus and SSCI, there are large differences in philosophy and in statistical variance. Both Scopus and SSCI are actuarial counting of citation rates, and are based on the logical inference that the more often a journal’s articles are cited, the more prestigious that journal is. In contrast, the vox populi method used here may have captured the broader range of the uses to which published articles are used – such as teaching, consultancy and contributions to public issues. A case could be made that a focus on research citations too narrowly represents the usefulness of research. A sole focus on high citation rates risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, where publication in top journals is pursued as an outcome in itself rather than as a marker for practical usefulness or genuine contribution to knowledge. As universities are often subject to publish or perish cultures, and are also sometimes accused of failing to do research that is relevant, a broader means of valuing journals might help nudge university life in positive directions. The current study showed that impact factors are critical, but account for less than 25% of a journal’s perceived ranking. The other six factors vary widely in the extent to which they are valued, and probably still only account for some of the factors (such as its topics) that make a journal useful or not. The diversity of ways that a journal can be useful, and the diversity of academics, suggest that a MAG scholar approach fits Surowiecki’s (2004) four important elements for outlining a wise crowd: (1) diversity of opinion, (2) independence, (identified though the range of tertiary institutions and anonymous design) (3) decentralization, and (4) aggregation. The publication results support the findings of Saunders and Wong (2011), that UK academics (and to a lesser extent UK influenced academics such as found in Australia and New Zealand) are falling behind in A* journal publications compared to the USA, Asia and Europe. As a percentage of respondents UK academics have a 6.4% publication rate in A* journals, while Australia and New Zealand have a15.5% publication rate, Asia has a 40.0% rate and Europe has a 45.1% publication rate. Given that the top six journals remain relatively stable across regions and over time this should be a concern to UK, Australian and New Zealand researchers and institutions. Future research should investigate regional differences more fully, including examining the influence of career duration, age and family-life balance. The determination of journal quality, outside of citation and impact continues to come under scrutiny (Lee, 2011), it is therefore important that additional research explore quality criteria from both a wider academic perspective, and a business impact perspective. Limitations The sample consisted of 1,005 self-selected respondents, which may not be representative of all academics, however the sample has increased significantly from the 2009 study, where 538 academics responded. Surveys in which respondents are 28
self-selected will contain an element of bias, especially when the data collected have potential personal and career impact; the results from this survey are no different. However, utilising the vox populi approach and continuing to conduct the survey every three years should build a substantial longitudinal data set. One concern commonly voiced is that importance of emerging journals and attempting to rank them (Fam et al., 2011). A second concern is finding an acceptable method to capture the dynamic nature of journal rankings, as marketing priorities and activities move forward (Steward and Lewis, 2010).
Acknowledgement: The authors would like to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (70902011) and Victoria University of Wellington FCA Small Grant (114945) for financial support.
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Appendix A: List of countries included in each region North America (NA, 362) includes USA (319) and Canada (43). UK (94). ANZ (116) includes Australia (79) and New Zealand (37). Asia (50) includes Bangladesh (1), China (9), Hong Kong (15), India (5), Indonesia (1), Japan (2), Malaysia (9), Republic of Korea (1), Singapore (2), Thailand (3), and Vietnam (2). Europe (82) includes Austria (9), Belgium (1), Denmark (5), Finland (3), France (14), Germany (3), Greece (2), Hungary (1), Ireland (4), Netherlands (14), Norway (9), Poland (1), Portugal (2), Spain (1), Sweden (10), Switzerland (1), and Turkey (2). Rest of the world (ROW, 15) includes Brazil (1), Egypt (1), Israel (2), Saudi Arabia (2), South Africa (7), United Republic of Tanzania (1), and the United Arab Emirates (1).
Appendix B: Example of the MAG score calculation Journal MAG score = ∑j((Rij /∑Tj))/Rankj)
Note: = Rij is the number of unaided recalls for the ith journal (i = 1 - 632) with jth rank (j = 1, 2, 3, …, 10), and T is the total number of unaided recalls for all journals with rank j. Rankj represents the rank of the journal.
Example: MAG score for Journal of Marketing (426/993/1) + (114/989/2) + (75/983/3) + … (1/236/10) = 0.536
Appendix C: MAG scholar journal ranking compared to Scopus and SSCI rankings MAG Rk Cat 1 A* 2 A* 3 A* 4 A* 5 A* 6 A* 7 A 8 A 9 A 10 A 11 A 12 A 13 A 14 A 15 A 16 A 17 A 18 A 19 A 20 A 21 A 22 A 23 A 24 A 25 B 26 B 27 B 28 B 29 B 30 B 31 B 32 B 33 B 34 B 35 B 36 B 37 B 38 B 39 B 40 B 41 B 42 B 43 B 44 B 45 B 46 B 47 B 48 B 49 B 50 B 51 B
Journal Journal of Marketing Journal of Marketing Research Journal of Consumer Research Marketing Science Journal of Academy of Marketing Science Journal of Retailing Academy of Management Journal Journal of International Business Studies Journal of Consumer Psychology Journal of Business Research Management Science Strategic Management Journal European Journal of Marketing Academy of Management Review International Journal of Research in Marketing Journal of Advertising Annals of Tourism Research Journal of Service Research Administrative Science Quarterly Industrial Marketing Management Journal of Advertising Research Tourism Management Journal of Public Policy and Marketing Journal of Marketing Management Marketing Letters Journal of International Marketing Harvard Business Review Psychology & Marketing Journal of Travel Research Journal of Product Innovation Management Journal of Business Ethics Organization Science Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Journal of Business Venturing Journal of Operations Management Journal of Business Logistics Journal of Applied Psychology Journal of Consumer Behavior Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management Journal of Macromarketing Journal of Management Journal of Management Studies Organization Studies American Economic Review Journal of World Business Journal of Services Marketing Journal of Sustainable Tourism Quantitative Marketing and Economics Research Policy Management International Review
Scopus IF 4.71 3.60 2.68 2.03 2.48 5.06 6.02 3.91 4.06 1.51 2.52 4.20 1.29 7.90 2.21 1.36 1.40 2.92 3.51 1.88 0.70 2.53 1.85 N/A 0.91 2.18 1.70 N/A 1.73 2.09 1.18 3.32 N/A 4.82 2.92 4.60 N/A 4.33 N/A 1.54 1.20 4.87 3.13 2.47 2.65 2.79 1.02 1.08 1.19 N/A 1.83
Scopus Rank 13 15 7 61 74 45 11 48 Z 128 20 30 180 4 56 121 134 57 2 136 221 90 47 X 95 190 33 X Z 73 245 46 X Z 52 24 X Z X 182 214 22 39 70 Z 137 218 162 119 X 224
SSCI IF 3.78 3.1 3.02 2.19 1.58 4.57 6.48 3.77 5.35 1.29 2.23 4.46 0.76 7.87 1.87 1.17 1.17 1.67 3.84 1.33 0.8 1.88 N/A N/A 0.56 1.59 1.66 1.34 N/A 1.52 1.09 3.13 N/A 4.73 2.26 3.24 N/A 3.84 N/A N/A N/A 4.43 2.81 2.12 2.53 2.63 N/A N/A N/A 2.26 N/A
SSCI Rank 12 17 18 35 61 4 2 13 3 74 33 6 115 1 48 83 Z 53 11 73 111 46 X X 130 59 55 72 X 63 89 15 X Z 31 14 X Z X X X 7 19 38 Z 20 X X X 30 X
MAG Score 0.536 0.330 0.272 0.161 0.109 0.080 0.067 0.059 0.057 0.051 0.050 0.049 0.045 0.044 0.040 0.037 0.027 0.026 0.025 0.023 0.022 0.021 0.020 0.019 0.017 0.016 0.016 0.016 0.015 0.015 0.015 0.014 0.014 0.013 0.013 0.012 0.012 0.011 0.010 0.010 0.010 0.010 0.010 0.009 0.009 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.007 0.007
52 53 54
B B B
Psychological Science 4.87 Z 5.09 Consumption, Markets & Culture N/A X N/A MIS Quarterly 5.65 12 4.49 Organizational Behavior and Human Decision 2.22 6 2.55 55 B Processes 56 B Journal of Interactive Marketing 3.91 69 2.6 57 B International Marketing Review 1.46 194 1.16 58 B Journal of Finance 4.07 5 3.76 59 B International Journal of Market Research 1.27 166 0.99 60 B Marketing Theory 0.00 672 N/A 61 B British Journal of Management 1.53 110 1.45 62 B Journal of Supply Chain Management 2.35 113 N/A 63 B Environment and Planning 2.04 Z N/A 64 B International Business Review 1.48 230 1.06 65 B Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 1.31 248 N/A 66 B Transportation Research 2.28 79 N/A 67 B Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing 1.03 309 N/A 68 B Decision Sciences 2.81 54 2.38 69 B Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing 0.64 393 N/A 70 B Sloan Management Review 1.24 122 N/A 71 B Journal of Consumer Affairs 2.06 72 2.18 International Journal of Physical Distribution & 72 B N/A X N/A Logistics Management 73 B Organization 1.47 160 1.35 74 B Tourism Analysis N/A X N/A 75 B Journal of International Management 2.08 172 1.85 76 B Journal of Small Business Management 1.38 215 1.09 77 B Human Resource Management Journal 1.35 124 N/A 78 B Operations Research 1.70 Z 1.58 79 B Information Systems Research 2.21 Z 1.79 80 B Journal of Marketing Education 0.72 238 N/A 81 B Public Opinion Quarterly 1.48 Z N/A 82 B California Management Review 2.60 71 1.98 83 B Journal of Political Economy 4.00 Z 3.84 International Review of Retail Distribution and 84 B N/A X N/A Consumer Research 85 B Industrial and Corporate Change 1.92 Z 1.51 86 B Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2.24 Z 2.24 87 B Quarterly Journal of Economics 5.78 Z 5.65 88 B Current Issues in Tourism 0.70 340 N/A 89 B Business History Review 0.36 516 0.35 90 B Science 24.19 Z N/A 91 B International Journal of Advertising 1.40 159 1.09 92 B Journal of Consumer Culture 1.46 Z N/A 93 B IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 1.90 91 1.25 94 B American Journal of Sociology 3.49 Z 3.48 95 B Small Business Economics 1.44 Z 1.38 96 B Journal of Experimental Psychology 4.67 Z N/A 97 B Accounting, Organizations and Society 2.58 105 N/A 98 B Journal of Financial Economics 4.43 10 4.02 99 B European Journal of Operational Research 2.51 Z N/A 100 B Human Relations 1.84 84 1.64 Notes: SSCI: Business, Management; Scopus: Business, Management and Accounting. Z: Not in Business, Management or Business, Management and Accounting category X: Not in SSCI or Scopus database
Z X 5
0.006 0.006 0.006
21 84 Z 96 X 66 X X 92 X X X 26 X X 36
0.006 0.006 0.006 0.006 0.006 0.005 0.005 0.005 0.005 0.004 0.004 0.004 0.004 0.004 0.004 0.004
70 X 49 89 X 62 50 X X 44 Z
0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003
64 Z Z X 144 X 88 X 75 Z 69 X X Z X 56
0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002
Appendix D: MAG scholar journal ranking comparing with and without US data Journal with US data Total Â Journal without US data
1 2 3 4 5
Journal of Marketing Journal of Marketing Research Journal of Consumer Research Marketing Science Journal of Academy of Marketing Science
714 659 598 470 389
Journal of Marketing Journal of Marketing Research Journal of Consumer Research Marketing Science Journal of Academy of Marketing Science
265 232 208 160 155
Journal of Retailing
Journal of Retailing
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Journal of Business Research
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Management Science 148 International Journal of Research in Marketing 148 Academy of Management Journal 139 Journal of International Business Studies 137 European Journal of Marketing 130 Strategic Management Journal 119 Journal of Advertising 118 Academy of Management Review 99 Journal of Service Research 79 Industrial Marketing Management 71 Administrative Science Quarterly 67 Journal of Advertising Research 66 Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 63 Journal of Marketing Management 58 Journal of International Marketing 56 Marketing Letters 56 Annals of Tourism Research 49 Psychology & Marketing 48 Harvard Business Review 47 Organization Science 46 Tourism Management 41 Journal of Product Innovation Management 40 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 40 Journal of Business Ethics 39 Journal of Management 35 Journal of Consumer Behavior 34 Journal of Travel Research 31 Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice 30 Journal of Personal Selling and Sales 30 Management Journal of Management Studies 30 Journal of Business Venturing 29 Journal of Applied Psychology 29 Quantitative Marketing and Economics 29
European Journal of Marketing 91 International Journal of Research in 91 Marketing Journal of Business Research 79 Journal of International Business Studies 64 Academy of Management Journal 62 Journal of Consumer Psychology 52 Industrial Marketing Management 45 Academy of Management Review 43 Journal of Marketing Management 42 Journal of Service Research 41 Management Science 37 Journal of Advertising 36 Annals of Tourism Research 35 Strategic Management Journal 33 Administrative Science Quarterly 32 Journal of International Marketing 27 Tourism Management 26 Organization Science 25 Marketing Letters 24 Journal of Product Innovation Management 23 Psychology & Marketing 22 Journal of Advertising Research 21 Journal of Business Ethics 18 Journal of Management Studies 17 Journal of Travel Research 17 Journal of Consumer Behavior 15 Journal of Sustainable Tourism 15 Organization Studies 15 Harvard Business Review 14 International Marketing Review 13
37 38 39 40 41
Journal of Business Venturing
Journal of Management Journal of World Business Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice Journal of Public Policy and Marketing
13 13 12 12
42 43 44 45
47 48 49
Journal of Macromarketing 28 Journal of Services Marketing 26 Journal of World Business 24 Organization Studies 22 Organizational Behavior and Human Decision 22 Processes Journal of Operations Management 21 Journal of Sustainable Tourism 21 Psychological Science 21
British Journal of Management Environment and Planning Journal of Macromarketing Marketing Theory
11 11 11 11
Consumption, Markets & Culture
Journal of Applied Psychology International Business Review Journal of Interactive Marketing
10 9 9
International Marketing Review
International Journal of Market Research
Research Policy Management International Review
Journal of Consumer Marketing Advances in Consumer Research
Journal of Interactive Marketing
Current Issues in Tourism
Journal of Business Logistics
British Journal of Management
57 58 59 60
Consumption, Markets & Culture International Business Review American Economic Review International Journal of Market Research
16 16 15 15
Environment and Planning
62 63 64 65 66 67
Sloan Management Review MIS Quarterly Decision Sciences Journal of Supply Chain Management Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing
15 13 13 12 12 12
Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing
Journal of International Management
71 72 73 74 75
Journal of Small Business Management Journal of Marketing Education California Management Review Journal of Political Economy Industrial and Corporate Change
10 10 9 9 9
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Journal of Finance 8 International Journal of Physical Distribution & 8 Logistics Management Operations Research 8 Current Issues in Tourism 8 Quarterly Journal of Economics 8
Industrial and Corporate Change 5 Journal of Advertising and Marketing 5 Communications Journal of Business and Industrial 5 Marketing American Economic Review 4 ASQ 4 California Management Review 4 Human Relations 4 International Journal of Hospitality 4 Management Accounting, Organizations and Society 3 Australian Journal of Management 3 Economic Journal 3 European Journal of Operational Research 3 Information Systems Research 3 International Journal of Advertising 3 International Journal of Human Resource 3 Management International Journal of Tourism Research 3 International Review of Retail Distribution 3 and Consumer Research International Small Business Journal 3 Journal of Consumer Culture 3 Academy of Marketing Science Quarterly 2 Acta Commercii 2 Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing 2 Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and 2 Logistics Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research 2
78 79 80 81
Asian Journal of Business Research
Asian Survey Business Ethics Quarterly Business Horizons
2 2 2
Journal of Consumer Culture Small Business Economics
86 87 88 89
International Journal of Hospitality 8 Management Journal of Experimental Psychology 8 Human Relations 8 Journal of Organizational Behavior 8 Journal of Consumer Affairs 7
Human Resource Management Journal
Information Systems Research
International Journal of Advertising
International Journal of Logistics Management 7 Tourism Geographies 7
96 97 98 99
Journal of Marketing Communications 6 Accounting, Organizations and Society 6 Journal of Consumer Marketing 6 Journal of Strategic Marketing 6 International Journal of Human Resource 6 Management
Decision Sciences 2 Department of Management Studies 2 Entrepreneurship and Regional 2 Development Environmental Politics
European Economic Review 2 European Management Journal 2 Human Resource Management Journal 2 International Journal of Bank Marketing 2 International Journal of Contemporary 2 Hospitality Management International Journal of Cross Cultural 2 Management International Journal of Retail & 2 Distribution Management Journal of Brand Management 2 Journal of Business 2 Journal of Business Accounting and 2 Finance Journal of Business Logistics 2 Journal of Business to Business Marketing 2 Journal of Common Market Studies 2 Journal of Contemporary Management 2 Journal of Economic Geography
Note: The highlighted listings indicate journals either ranked outside the top 50, or not ranked within the 100 journal listed, (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology is ranked #31 with US data included, but is not ranked in the top 100 when US data is not included).
Asian Journal of Business Research
An Empirical Research on the Effect of Low-Carbon Knowledge of the Urban Residents on their LowCorbonized Energy Consumption Behavior Lingyun Mi China University of Mining and Technology Rui Nie China University of Mining and Technology
Abstract Based on the literature research, this article classifies Low Carbon Knowledge into system knowledge, action knowledge and effectiveness knowledge. Then by introducing two variables of “Behavior Intention” and “behavior competence”, we build a conceptual model about various effects of Low Carbon Knowledge on lowcarbonized energy consumption behavior. We investigate the residents in 49 cities in China and get 4129 valid samples. We use LISREL 8.7 for parameter estimation, and modify the model by T test. The result shows that "system knowledge" and "action knowledge" mainly affects consumption behavior through Behavior Intention, and "effectiveness knowledge" mainly affects consumption behavior through behavior competence. Buying behavior is more influenced by Behavior Intention, and using behavior is more influenced by behavior competence. Therefore, the result of this paper improves the pertinence and effectiveness of spreading Low Carbon Knowledge, and then we can effectively guide urban residential energy consumption behavior in the low-carbon direction. Keyword: Low-carbon Knowledge, urban residents, low-carbonized, Energy consumption behavior
Introduction Low carbonization has become the general trend in the global economic development. In terms of the structure of urban and rural distribution in China, per capita energy consumption of the urban residents is 2 ~ 3 times as much as that of the rural residents (National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China, 2010). At present urban residents is the main body of household energy consumption in China. At the same time, China is now on a stage of accelerated urbanization development, 37
and population urbanization rate increases by 1% every year. Therefore, energy consumption of the urban resident, low carbonized or not, has not only a direct effect on the total energy consumption structure, residents scale and growth rate, but also an indirect impact on the value judgment and choice of industrial products. When urban residents’ low-carbonized energy consumption behavior becomes the established social norms, it will promote low carbonization in the fields of production and circulation, and boost the realization of the goals of energy and emission reduction in China from the viewpoints of demand management. Urban residents’ low-carbonized energy consumption behavior belongs to residents’ positive environment behavior. Existing researches consistently show that environmental knowledge is an important factor on environmental behavior. Hines selected 380 articles related to environmental behavior, and used meta analysis to integrate 128 articles about environmental behavior and its influencing factors, and then put forward the famous idea of responsible environmental behavior model. The model pointed out that action strategy knowledge and environmental knowledge are important factors affecting responsible environmental behavior (Hines, 1986). After this, Simmons and Grunert’s studies supported Hines's view (Simmons,1990, Grunert,1993). Simmons pointed out that a lack of knowledge is a substantial obstacle to people who had a positive attitude towards protecting environment. It shows that in order to cultivate and guide urban residents’ low-cabonized energy consumption behavior, it is necessary for the residents to acquire some Low Carbon Knowledge. Because of the different views of existing researches on the classification of environmental knowledge, there are a lot of disputes over the effect of environmental knowledge on environmental behavior. Schahn J studied the living waste management behavior of German residents and confirmed that specific environmental knowledge had significant effect on environmental behavior, but general environmental knowledge’s influence is very small(Schahn J ,1990). Carmen Tanner,& Kast studied the Swiss consumers and found that procedural knowledge can significantly affect green buying behavior, and stating knowledge has no effect(Carmen Tanner,,2003). Michele thought that environmental knowledge about fact can significantly affect green buying behavior, and general environmental knowledge has no effect (Michele T, 2004). Ricky Y K Chan studied Beijing and Guangzhou consumers and found that the stating environmental knowledge, through green buying intention, has a significant positive impact on general green buying behavior (Ricky Y K Chan, 2001). As environmental problems caused by fossil energy consumption are getting increasingly serious, researchers began to focus on the influence of energy knowledge on household energy use behaviors. Stern, Staats and Harland’s researches found that knowledge of energy utilization can affect green energy buying and using behavior (Stern 1992, Staats, 2000, Harland, 2007). Parker and Linda Steg’s studies on household energy saving found that a lack of knowledge of energy use is one of the major obstacles to implementing household energy saving (Parker P, 2005, Linda Steg, 2008). Lishun Chen took the residents in Dalian as the object of his empirical study and confirmed that energy knowledge has a significantly positive effect on behavior (Lishun Chen, 2009). However, these studies have not classified energy 38
knowledge, so we are not sure which kind of knowledge can have the positive effect on behavior. We are also not sure whether different types of knowledge can result in a significant difference in the residents’ energy use behaviors. These lead to a lack of target and pertinence in promoting environmental knowledge. Therefore, on the basis of realizing Low Carbon Knowledge’s influence on residential low-cabonized energy consumption behavior, it will be the key to guide residents’ behavior that we study the influence mechanism and effect of different types of low carbon knowledge on low-cabonized energy consumption behavior. To this end, this paper borrows Jacqueline Frick’s classification of environmental knowledge that divides Low Carbon Knowledge into System Knowledge, Action Knowledge and Effectiveness Knowledge, and adopts the empirical method to inspect the influence mechanism and the effect of three kinds of low carbon knowledge (Jacqueline Frick, 2004). In this way we can provide reference and basis to guide the urban residents to form low-cabonized energy consumption behavior though knowledge.
Literature Review and Research Hypothesis Concept and Definition of Low-cabonized Energy Consumption Behavior The main cause of global warming is CO2 emission from the consumption of fossil energy, which happens to take a major part in China and the world's energy structure. Therefore, residents’ reduction in CO2 emission behavior is closely related to residents’ energy consumption behavior. In the existing literature, residential energy consumption behavior is defined in the perspective of the performance of residential energy consumption behavior. It often overlaps the concepts of Household Energy Use, Residents’ Energy Conservation Behavior and so on. Van Raaij defined residential energy use as the consumption behavior related to buying, maintaining and using energy (Van Raaij,1983). Van Diepen defined household energy use as home energy use and transport energy use (Van Diepen,2000). Scott thought that domestic energy behavior is composed of investment, management and curtailment (Scott. D, 2000), Anna-Lisa Linden surveyed and interviewed 600 Swedish households and defined residential energy behavior as energy use in five aspects ---heating, lighting, cleaning, food supply, entertainment and information (Anna-Lisa Linden, 2006). By summarizing the existing literature, Stewart Barr defined residential conservation behaviors as habit--related conservation behaviors and purchase-related conservation behaviors (Stewart Barr, 2005). Lishun Chen defined urban residential energy consumption behavior as “all sorts of energy use and consumer behavior of the urban residents”, including selective energy consumption behavior and habitual energy consumption behavior (Lishun Chen, 2009). With a reference to the definitions of the residential energy behavior mentioned above, this paper defines residential “low-cabonized energy consumption behavior” as “energy consumption behavior that aims at the goal of CO2 reduction and takes the forms of the buying behavior for energy saving products, green energy and energy saving facilities, and the using behavior for energy consumption equipments and facilities in daily life”. This definition has two dimensions: Buying behavior and 39
using behavior. In the Chinese urban areas, low-carbonized buying behavior that an individual can adopt is buying energy-efficient appliances behavior (BEAB), buying green energy behavior (BGEB) and residential energy saving investment behavior (REIB). Using behavior (UB) refers to residential active management behavior for energy consumption volume and energy use efficiency of the purchased equipment. It includes saving behavior and improving energy efficiency behavior. Buying behavior has the characteristics of being disposable, relatively rational and investable. Using behavior has the characteristics of repeatability, bounded rationality and being habitual. Classification of Low Carbon Knowledge Knowledge is a mixture of information, experience and opinions achieved by an interaction between individual and environment. Since Knowledge is a relatively broad concept, its definition varies from one discipline to another. Knowledge related to residential low-cabonized energy consumption behavior is low carbon knowledge, which belongs to the category of environmental knowledge. Therefore, this paper defines Low Carbon Knowledge as a mixture of information, experience and opinions concerning CO2 emission cut. Low carbon knowledge falls into the category of environmental knowledge, which can be explained both in a broad sense and in a narrow sense. The broad sense of environmental knowledge contains procedural knowledge, stating knowledge, general knowledge and specific knowledge, etc. The narrow sense of environmental knowledge is classified according to the specific environmental issues. Marcinkowski divided environmental knowledge into natural environmental knowledge, environmental problem knowledge and environmental action knowledge (Marcinkowski T. J, 1988). In his study of environmental protection actions, Jacqueline Frick divided environmental knowledge into system knowledge, actionrelated knowledge and effectiveness knowledge. System knowledge refers to an individual’s basic understanding of environmental system and ecological process. It is the knowledge concerning "what you know". Action-related knowledge refers to behavior choice and usual practice. It is the knowledge of “knowing how to do". Effectiveness knowledge refers to an understanding of the consequence of behavior. It is knowledge concerning "which kind of knowledge is more effective" (Jacqueline Frick, 2004). Frick’s classification is widely recognized in the study of environmental behaviors. This research borrows Jacqueline Frick’s classification and divides Low Carbon Knowledge into system knowledge (SK), action knowledge (AK) and effectiveness knowledge (EK). System knowledge refers to the basic understanding the residents hold towards carbon emissions and low carbon development, such as what is the greenhouse effect? Action knowledge refers to the usual practice of the residential low carbon behavior, such as reducing fuel automobile use, reducing power consumption and turning off the air conditioning can reduce CO2 emissions. Effectiveness knowledge refers to a realization of the difference in carbon emission among various energy consumption behaviors, such as radiant floor heating is more effective than convection heating.
Research Hypothesis Hines’ responsible environmental behavior model established in the method of metaanalysis is one of the representative researches in the effect of environmental knowledge on positive environmental behavior. Hines pointed out that responsible environmental behavior is the result of Behavior Intention, which in turn is influenced by individual knowledge and skills. Environmental knowledge and behavior strategy knowledge have an indirect but significant positive effect on behavior through Behavior Intention (Hines, 1986). His viewpoints are supported by Simmons’ study on Environmental protection behavior and Grunert’s study on green food buying behavior (Simmons, D, 1990, Grunert, S. C, 1993). Ricky Y K Chan studied Beijing and Guangzhou consumers and found that environmental knowledge has a significant and positive effect on green buying behavior through the variables of green buying intention or environmental emotion (Ricky Y K Chan, 2001). Yan Sun divided the residents’ environmental behavior into Ecological management behavior, consumer behavior, persuasion behavior and civil behavior. The results showed that environmental knowledge has a significant predictive power for the four types of environmental behavior through the attitude variables (Yan Sun, 2006). In addition, Stern, Staats and Harland’s researches on buying and using behavior of green energy, Parker, Linda Steg and Lishun Chen’s researches on household energy use behavior all found that the knowledge of energy use is an important factor affecting the residents’ energy behavior (Stern, 1992, Staats,2000, Harland, 2007 ,Parker, 2005, Linda Steg, 2008, Lishun Chen’, 2009). In his classical Plan Act Theory, Ajzen pointed out that Behavior Intention (BI) is the most direct dependent variable to influence behavior, and other subjective psychological factors affect behavior indirectly through Behavior Intention. Behavior Intention refers to psychological tendency and motives before action. It reflects that a person’s willingness to spend his time and effort to carry out this behavior (Ajzen, 1991). In Kara Chen’s study of the wastes behavior of Hong Kong residents, Kaise’s study of the environmental behavior of Swiss residents, Satoshi’s study of the environmental behavior of Tokyo family, Khalil’s study of the environmental behavior of Iran Deheran residents, it is confirmed that Behavior Intention is the direct dependent variable to influence environmental behavior, and other subjective psychological factors affect environmental behavior indirectly through Behavior Intention. (Kara Chen, 1998, Kaise,1999, Satoshi F, 2006, Khalil, 2007) On the basis of the views mentioned above, we make Hypothesis 1: Hypothesis 1: Low-carbon Knowledge (LCK) may have an indirect and positive effect on Low-cabonized Eenergy Consumption Behavior through Behavior Intention (BI) Hypothesis 1a: SK may have a direct and positive effect on BI Hypothesis 1b: AK may have a direct and positive effect on BI Hypothesis 1c: EK may have a direct and positive effect on BI Hypothesis 1d: BI may have a direct and positive effect on BEAB Hypothesis 1e: BI may have a direct and positive effect on BGEB Hypothesis 1f: BI may have a direct and positive effect on REIB 41
Hypothesis 1g: BI may have a direct and positive effect on UB In his theory of planned behavior, Ajzen emphasized that Behavior Intention is the direct dependent variable of behavior. He also pointed out an important premise for Behavior Intention to predict behavior. That is, behavior that can be completely controlled by an individual will be directly determined by Behavior Intention; behavior that can’t be completely controlled by an individual will not only be directly determined by Behavior Intention, but also be determined by personal ability, opportunities and resources. Only in the event that these conditions can be controlled can Behavior Intention directly determine behavior (Ajzen, 1991). But in the real case this state is relatively scarce. As to the urban residential low-cabonized energy consumption behavior, neither buying behavior nor using behavior can be completely controlled by individual wills. For example, because of a lack of ability, an individual with high intentions will not achieve a low carbon behavior target. Thomas L. Webb used Meta-analysis to research specific behavior and found that correlation between Behavior Intention and behavior is a very big variable. Only when they show a strong control ability to behavior will people tend to act on their will (Thomas L. Webb, 2006). Therefore, there are undoubtedly limitations of explanatory power when we simply predict low-carbonized energy consumption behavior though low carbon Behavior Intention. Behavioral research suggests that an effective completion of a campaign is a joint result of motivation and competence. Motivation reflects the extent to which an individual is willing to implement a behavior. It’s a symbol of subjective intention. Competence reflects the possibility that an individual is able to implement a behavior. To achieve a desired goal, the "willingness" to do well is not enough. People also need to have the "ability" to do well. Therefore, the concept of "low carbon behavior competence" is introduced into this paper. Stephen P. Robbins pointed out that "competence" reflects the possibility that an individual implements a variety of tasks in some work. It’s a realistic assessment of what an individual can do. Because of the differences in individual competence, the same efforts will often bring about different results of behavior (Stephen, 1997). Residents’ low-cabonized energy consumption behavior aims to reduce emissions of CO2. It not only expects the residents to have low carbon Behavior Intention, but also requires the residents to have low carbon behavior competence. So this paper introduces the concept of "low carbon behavior competence". We regard Behavior Competence as the possibility of a target individual to complete a task or implement a behavior. Low carbon Behavior Competence means the possibility of an individual to complete a low carbon task or reduce CO2 emissions. This Behavior Competence means that the actor is qualified for the target action and is capable of achieving an excellent performance. Individual behavior competence is a kind of external performance of knowledge. It enables an individual to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in his activities. Therefore, this paper regards "low carbon behavior competence" and "low carbon Behavior Intention" as the mediators between low carbon knowledge and lowcabonized energy consumption behavior. Then we make Hypothesis 2:
Hypothesis 2: Low-carbon Knowledge may have an indirect and positive effect on low-cabonized energy consumption behavior through Behavior Competence (BC) Hypothesis 2a: SK may have a direct and positive effect on BC Hypothesis 2b: AK may have a direct and positive effect on BC Hypothesis 2d: BC may have a direct and positive effect on BEAB Hypothesis 2e: BC may have a direct and positive effect on BGEB Hypothesis 2f: BC may have a direct and positive effect on REIB Hypothesis 2g: BC may have a direct and positive effect on UB Conceptual Model Based on the literature review and hypothesis, this paper builds a conceptual model about the effects of various Low-carbon Knowledge on low-carbonized energy consumption behavior is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Conceptual Model
Research Design and Data Quality Control Scale Development This study adopts Likert scale and the questionnaire contains 36 items. As to the measurement of "low carbon knowledge" (LCRK), we refer to Frick and Kaiser’s research, and divide knowledge into system knowledge (SK), action knowledge (AK) and effectiveness knowledge (EK). Each knowledge type has three measurement indexes, and involves nine questions. Measurement of “Low carbon Behavior Intention” refers to Chan’s scale and Stern’s and Pieters’ researches, and involves five measurement indexes (Chan R.Y.K, 2001, Stern P.C, 1999, Pieters, 1991). We design our own measurement of “Low carbon behavior competence” and set up four indexes. The measurement of “Low-cabonized energy consumption behavior” is divided into the two aspects of buying behavior and using behavior. It gives reference to Linden A.-L.’s scale, Notice on the Strict Implementation of Public Buildings Air Conditioning Temperature Control Standard compiled in 2007 by the General Office of the State Council of P.R.C.(The State Council of the People's Republic of China, 2007), Manual of National Energy Conservation And Emission Reduction issued by Ministry of Science and Technology of P.R.C.in 2007(The Ministry of Science and 43
Technology of the People's Republic of China, 2007), Xianfeng Zhang’s A Reading Collection of Low Carbon Life Knowledge (Xianfeng Zhang, 2010), and Zhi Yang’s Open The Window Of Low Carbon Economy (Zhi Yang, 2010). Buying behavior is divided into buying energy-efficient appliances (BEAB), buying green energy (BGEB) and residential energy saving investment (REIB) and involves nine measurement indexes. Using behavior involves 10 measurement indexes, which are concerned with the prevailing energy use behavior in the daily life of Chinese urban residents.
Initial Investigation and Formal Investigation This questionnaire of study contains initial investigation and formal investigation. The respondents of the initial survey are residents of Xuzhou, China, who were selected by means of friend relationship and random interviews in residential area and business place. This survey issued 350 copies of questionnaire, and collected 212 copies of valid reply. SPSS 17.0 was used to test its reliability and validity. Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient proposed by Wortzel in 1971 was used to test the reliability. Results show that when we delete U8, Cronbach's alpha coefficients of four scales reach more than 0.6. This explains that the scale has good reliability. The scale is valid with its “Item-to-total” larger than 0.3 and the “Alpha” of each factor larger than 0.6. The research objects are urban residents. While China is a large country, its level of economic and social development varies from region to region, and city to city. Therefore, the data were collected by means of sample survey from all regions and all cities. This research gives priority to paper questionnaire survey, supplemented by Email survey, in order that the questionnaire should involve all the three economic zones (the east, the middle and the west) and the four levels of cities in China, and that the samples should be typical and the answers should be reliable. We distributed the paper questionnaire in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and communities, and in this way completed the investigation of the parents and local residents. In addition, we send E-mail from acquaintances to acquaintances to make the survey available to more residents of the city. The total of the questionnaires is 6259 copies, and the valid questionnaires are 4129 copies, so the questionnaire efficiency reaches 82.05% . Valid questionnaires cover 49 cities. As to the locations of the surveyed cities, 31 of them are in the eastern economic region, 13 in the central economic region and 5 in the western economic region. As to the economic and social development levels of these cities, there are 5 first-level cities, 21 second-level cities, 14 third-level cities and 9 forth-level cities. Table 1 shows the descriptive statistics of the valid samples. Their regional distribution and residential composition are representative of the Chinese urban residents.
Table 1: Valid Sample Descriptive Statistics Items Options Frequency Male 2011 Gender Female 2118 Under 20 336 21-30 970 31-40 1492 Age 41-50 1001 51-60 209 Over 60 121 Junior middle school and below 610 Senior middle school 1260 Education university 1857 Master or doctor 402 Marital Yes 2976 Status No 1153 The government department staff 280 Common workers or service personnel 1041 Corporate executives 590 Engineers and technicians 367 Occupation Scientific research, education and 456 environmental health workers Private employer 422 Retirement or family women 258 Others 715
Percentage 48.7% 51.3% 8.1% 23.5% 36.1% 24.2% 5.1% 2.9% 14.8% 30.5% 45.0% 9.7% 72.1% 27.9% 6.8% 25.2% 14.3% 8.9% 11.0% 10.2% 6.2% 17.3%
(1) Validity Analysis SPSS 17.0 was used to do EFA. The bigger the value of KMO indicators is, the more suitable the data are for factor analysis. Normally, the value must be more than 0.7. In this survey, the value of KMO is 0.927 and Bartlettâ€™s Test is 0.000. We used principal component factor analysis method and sort the items in 9 factors. Explained rate of variance is 64.766%. We adopted variance most money-raising orthogonal rotating. Result shows that the load of every item in their respective factor are more than 0.5 and the load of every items in other factors are less than 0.5. The analysis results indicates that the scale has good convergent validity and discriminate validity, as is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Exploratory Factor Analysis of Initial Data Component Items 1 2 3 4 5 6 B1 .130 -.018 .195 .775 .037 .053 B2 .162 .034 .201 .792 .032 -.009 B3 .134 .034 .228 .758 .029 .000 B4 .156 .036 .139 .388 .072 -.021 B5 .230 .044 .115 .037 .155 .042 B6 .130 .126 .157 .161 .055 .033 B7 .175 .050 .186 .259 .056 .027 B8 .177 .042 .125 .410 .035 .089 U1 .581 .025 .140 .350 .074 .111 U2 .668 .050 .120 .361 .056 .092 U3 .590 .077 .075 .240 .074 -.070 U4 .570 .069 .064 .036 -.022 .148 U5 .683 .134 .055 .034 .194 -.012 U6 .695 .124 .110 .007 .140 -.008 U7 .717 .107 .096 .066 .144 .005 U9 .480 .017 .139 .071 .034 .110 U10 .647 .133 .117 -.035 .217 .017 BI1 .162 .054 .745 .177 .072 .157 BI2 .096 .098 .802 .136 .094 .089 BI3 .165 .100 .731 .112 .145 .112 BI4 .111 .164 .729 .170 .092 -.033 BI5 .070 .074 .653 .193 .159 .165 BC1 .135 .209 .159 .078 .662 .219 BC2 .170 .193 .246 .094 .694 .058 BC3 .196 .147 .062 -.021 .799 .079 BC4 .129 .118 .093 .023 .799 .068 SK1 .059 .242 .190 .043 .091 .809 SK2 .068 .312 .127 .054 .198 .764 SK3 .058 .368 .101 -.018 .105 .757 AK1 .134 .622 .207 .177 .045 .227 AK2 .128 .752 .099 .045 .094 .126 AK3 .087 .778 .136 .046 .078 .119 EK1 .130 -.381 -.033 -.108 .214 .246 EK2 .103 -.066 .035 -.009 .251 .212 EK3 .092 -.182 .107 -.054 .157 .219
7 .165 .170 .172 .161 .435 .656 .742 .611 .112 .034 -.010 .044 .082 .265 .017 -.022 .194 -.006 .109 .076 .138 .226 .114 .160 -.042 .005 .040 .050 .035 .083 -.037 -.011 .030 .056 .253
8 .014 .164 .119 .609 .605 .323 .066 .019 -.165 -.090 .357 .226 .160 -.136 .111 .178 .026 .083 .045 .128 -.021 .001 -.025 -.032 .129 .075 -.014 .034 -.002 -.065 .056 -.054 .090 .125 -.021
9 .027 .025 .008 .179 -.038 -.173 .058 .117 .031 -.058 -.104 .069 -.194 .064 .115 .534 .202 .019 -.059 -.144 .190 .229 .089 .213 -.113 -.086 .052 -.025 .027 .301 -.021 .244 .623 .691 .643
Then we use LISREL 8.70 and adopt fixed load method to confirm the factor analysis. Analysis results are shown in Table 3. The load of every item in their respective factor is more than 0.5, which declares that the scale has good convergent validity. The model fitting is good with RMSEA=0.058， NNFI=0.96， CFI=0.97 and AGFI=0.90
Table 3: Confirmatory Factor Analysis Component Item T 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 B1 .75 --B2 .86 64.34 B3 .78 56.30 B4 .61 --B5 .62 36.05 B6 .65 --B7 .74 49.29 B8 .68 44.86 U1 .59 --U2 .65 44.49 U3 .52 39.89 U4 .67 33.89 U5 .68 45.98 U6 .71 47.41 U7 .55 49.68 U9 .50 32.51 U10 .69 47.74 BI1 .72 --BI2 .77 55.44 BI3 .71 49.72 BI4 .73 51.26 BI5 .72 50.46 BC1 .70 --BC2 .74 50.84 BC3 .75 51.71 BC4 .72 49.12 K1 .79 --K2 .81 59.16 K3 .79 56.79 K4 .70 --K5 .71 48.28 K6 .76 52.42 K7 .70 --K8 .77 54.05 K9 .72 49.82 RMSEA=0.058,NNFI=0.96,CFI=0. Goodness of 97,GFI=0.90, Fit AGFI=0.90 (2) Reliability Analysis Wortzel proposed Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient to test reliability, and argues that the higher the value is, the better the scale is. Table 4 shows the result of the survey. Through the analysis result of SPSS 17.0, Cronbach's alpha coefficients of BGEB is 47
0.543(except BGEB), and all the other scales are more than 0.7. This explains that the scale has a good reliability. Table 4: Reliability Analysis of Data Latent Variables Cronbach’s α BEAB 0.836 BGEB 0.543 REIB 0.722 UB 0.851 BI 0.849 BC 0.814 SK 0.838 AK 0.764 EK 0.773 Test of Model and Hypothesis According to the concept model, we set initial structure equation model as M. Using LISREL 8.7 for parameter estimation, we modify the model by T test. Normally, chisquare will decrease when we increase the free parameter, and chi-square will increase when we reduce the free parameter. After we increase the free parameter, the Chi-square reduces significantly. This proves that it is worthwhile to increase free parameters. If the free parameters decreases and the chi-square does not significantly increase, it shows that reducing free parameters is acceptable. The empirical results show that in Model M, each path can meet the significant requirements. We delete the path from AK to BC and modify model M to M1. Its df increases by 1, and the chi-square increases by 8.95, larger than 6.63(asα=0.01, the chi-square reaches its critical value). So we don’t support the modification of model M for model M1. We get the same conclusion when we delete the other path. As Table 5 shows, all the Fitting Indexes of the model can meet the requirements, so we choose M as the final model. Table 5: Fitting Index of Each Model M: Initial Model M1: Delete AK to BC path basis on M Chi8460.33 8469.28 square df 540 541 RMSEA 0.060 0.060 GFI 0.94 0.94 AGFI 0.94 0.93 NNFI 0.99 0.99 CFI 0.99 0.99
Model M is the optimal model. Results show that all the three types of low carbon related knowledge, namely “system knowledge”, “action knowledge” and “effectiveness knowledge” , affect low carbon Behavior Intention and competence significantly. The values of direct effect of the three types of knowledge are 0.22, 0.47 and 0.23 on “Behavior Intention”, and are 0.10, 0.12 and 0.37on “behavior competence”. The values of direct effect of “Behavior Intention” on three types of buying behaviors are 0.57, 0.36 and 0.45, and 0.28 on using behavior. The values of direct effect of “behavior competence” on three types of buying behaviors are -0.02, 0.23 and 0.13, and 0.32 on using behavior. Both “Behavior Intention” and “behavior competence” play significant intermediary roles, as all the three types of knowledge indirectly affect the four types of behaviors. Table 6 and Table 7show the operation results of M. Table 6 Standardized Path Coefficients and Direct Effect among Variables Variable Standardization Direct Effect Relationship Estimate SK→BI 0.24 0.22 AK→BI 0.46 0.47 EK→BI 0.22 0.23 BI→BEAB 0.56 0.57 BI→BGEB 0.43 0.36 BI→REIB 0.51 0.45 BI→UB 0.34 0.28 SK→BC 0.12 0.10 AK→BC 0.12 0.12 EK→BC 0.38 0.37 BC→BEAB -0.01 -0.02 BC→BGEB 0.27 0.23 BC→REIB 0.14 0.13 BC→UB 0.38 0.32 Table 7 Indirect Effect among Variables Variable Indirect Effect Relationship SK→BI→BEAB 0.22×0.57=0.1254 SK→BI→BGEB 0.22×0.36=0.0782 SK→BI→REIB 0.22×0.45=0.099 SK→BI→UB 0.22×0.28=0.0616 AK→BI→BEAB 0.47×0.57=0.2679
Variable Relationship SK→BC→BEAB SK→BC→BGEB SK→BC→REIB SK→BC→UB AK→BC→BEAB
AK→BI→BGEB AK→BI→REIB AK→BI→UB EK→BI→BEAB
0.47×0.36=0.1692 0.47×0.45=0.2115 0.47×0.28=0.1316 0.23×0.57=0.1311
AK→BC→BGEB AK→BC→REIB AK→BC→UB EK→BC→BEAB
EK→BI→BGEB EK→BI→REIB EK→BI→UB
0.23×0.36=0.0828 0.23×0.45=0.1035 0.23×0.28=0.0644
EK→BC→BGEB EK→BC→REIB EK→BC→UB
Indirect Effect 0.10×-0.02=-0.002 0.10×0.23=0.023 0.10×0.13=0.013 0.10×0.32=0.032 0.12×-0.02=0.0024 0.12×0.23=0.0276 0.12×0.13=0.0156 0.12×0.32=0.0384 0.37×-0.02=0.0074 0.37×0.23=0.0851 0.37×0.13=0.0481 0.37×0.32=0.1184
According to the operation results of the model, we test H1 and H2. Results are shown in table 8. Table 8: Verification of Theory Hypothesis Number Hypothesis LCRK may have an indirect and positive effect on H1 low-carbonized energy consumption behavior through BI H1a SK may have a direct and positive effect on BI H1b AK may have a direct and positive effect on BI H1c EK may have a direct and positive effect on BI H1d BI may have a direct and positive effect on BEAB H1e BI may have a direct and positive effect on BGEB H1f BI may have a direct and positive effect on REIB H1g BI may have a direct and positive effect on UB LCRK may have an indirect and positive effect on H2 low-carbonized energy consumption behavior through BC H2a SK may have a direct and positive effect on BC H2b AK may have a direct and positive effect on BC H2c EK may have a direct and positive effect on BC H2d BC may have a direct and positive effect on BEAB H2e BC may have a direct and positive effect on BGEB H2f BC may have a direct and positive effect on REIB H2g BC may have a direct and positive effect on UB
Result supported supported supported supported supported supported supported supported Part supported supported supported supported Not supported supported supported supported
Conclusions This empirical study concludes that (1) System knowledge, action knowledge and effectiveness knowledge have indirect effect on low-cabonized energy consumption behavior through Behavior Intention and behavior competence. Therefore, in order to effectively promote the shift from low carbon knowledge to low carbon behavior, the two key points in designing behavior guidance policy are arousing the residents’ low carbon Behavior Intention and the fostering residents’ low carbon behavior competence. (2) Among the three types of Low Carbon Knowledge, the effect of action knowledge is the most positive on Behavior Intention. The value of direct effect is 0.47, more significant than system knowledge on Behavior Intention and effectiveness knowledge on Behavior Intention. The effect of effectiveness knowledge is the most positive on behavior competence. The value of direct effect is 0.37, more significant than system knowledge on behavior competence and action knowledge on behavior competence. This suggests that when we convince the residents of Low Carbon Knowledge, we need to bear it in mind that action knowledge about "know how to do" may have more effect on Behavior Intention of the residents, that effectiveness knowledge about “which kind of knowledge is more effective” may have more effect on behavior 50
competence of the residents, and that System knowledge about “know what” may have effect on Behavior Intention and behavior competence, but the effect is weaker than that of action knowledge and effectiveness knowledge. Therefore, system knowledge is not the key in promoting Low Carbon Knowledge. In the process of spreading Low Carbon Knowledge, we should be able to distinguish its classifications, and carry out targeted training and promotion. Only in this way can knowledge be effectively transformed into behavior. (3) Low-cabonized energy consumption behavior is the joint result of Behavior Intention and behavior competence. Through this empirical research, we find that buying behavior is more influenced by low carbon Behavior Intention, and using behavior is more influenced by low carbon behavior competence. Behavior Intention has a significantly positive effect on the four aspects of “lowcarbonized energy consumption behavior”, but the effect on the three buying behaviors is higher than that on using behavior. Behavior competence has a positive effect on the four aspects of “low-carbonized energy consumption behavior” too, but the direction and strength of its influence varies from one behavior to another. Behavior competence has a weak negative effect on buying energy-efficient appliances behavior, and the value of direct effect is -0.02. This shows that the stronger the urban residents’ low carbon behavior competence is, the more negative the buying energy-efficient appliances behavior is. The reason is that people who have strong behavior competence can develop their own energy saving tips. They don’t have to rely on the external equipments. Behavior competence has a significantly positive effect on buying green energy behavior, residential energy saving investment behavior and using behavior. Behavior competence has the strongest effect on using behavior and the weakest effect on residential energy saving investment behavior. This shows that in order to guide urban residents’ low carbon energy buying behavior, it’s important to arouse Behavior Intention, which requires more efforts in promoting action knowledge. Besides, we should pay attention to action knowledge while promoting new Low-carbon product, as it is the major driving force in cultivating buying intention and behavior. In order to guide urban residents’ low carbon energy using behavior, it’s important to cultivate their behavior competence. This requires more effort in promoting effectiveness knowledge and informing the general public of the more effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions. In this way they can raise their low carbon behavior competence and develop their habits of low carbon behavior.
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Asian Journal of Business Research
Priming Attitudes toward Feng Shui Wendy W. N. Wan Sun Yat-Sen University Peiguan Wu Sun Yat-Sen University Chung-Leung Luk, City University of Hong Kong Kim-Shyan Fam Victoria University of Wellington Jessie J. X. Lou, & H. Xu City University of Hong Kong
Abstract Previous research has identified three fundamentally different attitudes toward Feng Shui: the instrumental view, the spiritual view, and the minimalist view. An experiment was conducted to test the prediction that each of these three attitudes can be activated in people by “priming” them with related concepts. As predicted, priming people with concepts to do with uncertainties and ups and downs in life led them to a higher level of agreement with the instrumental view of Feng Shui. Priming people with concepts of nature and cultural identity led to a higher level of agreement with the spiritual view of Feng Shui. Finally, priming people with concepts to do with school life led to a higher level of agreement with the minimalist view of Feng Shui. We discuss the implications of these findings for business practitioners. Keywords: Feng Shui, instrumental view, spiritual view, minimalist view, priming
Introduction Feng Shui is a system of beliefs stemming from ancient Chinese culture about how the environment and humankind interact (Koh, 2003; Kwok & O’Brien, 1991; Rossbach & Lin, 1998). Many Chinese practice Feng Shui and are willing to spend money on it and it is also gaining acceptance in the West (Tsang, 2004). A highly contentious example was the HK$181,000 (approximately US$23,200) spent by the 55
Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) on Feng Shui (The Standard, 2007). ASTRI is a government-funded research institute. The media criticized public money being used on Feng Shui. At the heart of the debate was the general opinion that Feng Shui is superstitious and should not be practiced by ASTRI scientists, who are supposed to be rational. The head of ASTRI, Dr. Robert Yang, resigned in the midst of public pressure. Different views of Feng Shui affect how likely people are to practice it. Yet, the scientific inquiry into views about Feng Shui is only just beginning. Luk et al. (2010) proposed a tripartite model of views about Feng Shui. They developed a psychometric scale for measuring these views and identified some of the dispositional determinants, including “internal locus of control,” “external locus of control in chance,” “external locus of control in powerful others,” and “connectivity with nature.” But for those wanting to change the environmental behavior of others, situational determinants are more interesting because these determinants can be manipulated. The present experiment is the first attempt to examine this possibility. We investigated the effect of one type of situational factor, conceptual primes. In the remainder of this paper, we review the relevant literature and develop our hypotheses. We then report the details of our experiment and discuss the implications of our findings. Views of Feng Shui In Chinese, Feng means wind and Shui means water. Literally, Feng Shui refers to the landscape of a location. There have been several Feng Shui theories (Koh, 2003; Rossbach & Lin, 1998). Common to the different theories of Feng Shui is the notion that tangible components of the landscape, such as mountains or rivers, can generate an invisible energy, known as chi. Chi can be auspicious or inauspicious, depending on the position of the tangible components and their orientation (Koh, 2003; Rossbach & Lin, 1998). To achieve good Feng Shui, the tangible components and the chi of a landscape should be balanced and in harmony. Good Feng Shui also reflects harmony between the environment and the inhabitants. This harmony would be internalized as harmony of the mind, which according to Chinese medicine theory is a source of health and longevity. Although Feng Shui has a long history, it has rarely been tested scientifically. It is based upon mystical principles of how the universe works, and as a result is open to diverse interpretations even among Chinese. While some may believe that Feng Shui is useful, others see it as an art. Building on the works of Stokol (1990) and Tsang (2004), Luk et al. (2010) proposed that there are three views commonly held about Feng Shui: the instrumental view, the spiritual view, and the minimalist view. The instrumental view of Feng Shui is the belief that practicing Feng Shui can improve luck, health, wealth and interpersonal relationships. People who hold the instrumental view are more likely to make causal attributions to external factors (Luk et al., 2010), reflecting a perceived lack of personal control over events. This view has a strong positive effect on the intention to practice Feng Shui and make use of Feng Shui to improve luck, health, wealth and interpersonal relationships (Luk et al., 2010).
The spiritual view considers Feng Shui to be an art form for living in harmony with the environment. According to this view, a harmonious environment is not a means but an end in itself. This view focuses on how Feng Shui arrangements inspire spiritual life and strengthen cultural identification. By practicing Feng Shui, people can develop a sense of oneness with the environment, derive spiritual satisfaction and attain a deep appreciation of Chinese culture. Supposedly, if the environment and its inhabitants are in harmony, inhabitants will feel good and their psychological wellbeing will be an added bonus. The spiritual view is positively correlated with Dutcher, Finley, Luloff, and Johnsonâ€™s (2007) construct of connectivity with nature. It, too, has a positive impact on the intention to practice Feng Shui, but the impact is less strong than that of the instrumental view (Luk et al., 2010). Finally, the minimalist view regards Feng Shui as superstitious and useless, and something to be ignored. Those who criticized the former chief executive of ASTRI for his spending on Feng Shui might espouse this view (e.g., Vines, 2007). Luk et al. (2010) have found that the adoption of this view by Chinese people is positively correlated with the adoption of a Western religion (e.g., Christian denominations, including Catholicism) and negatively correlated with the adoption of an Oriental religion (e.g., Taoism or Buddhism). Therefore, this view is likely to have been brought to the Chinese from the West, and is thus relatively new compared to the instrumental and spiritual views. Priming as a Situational Determinant The instrumental and the spiritual views of Feng Shui were rooted in Chinese culture and philosophies. Most Chinese are familiar with these two views. The minimalist view is likely to be more familiar to people who have received a Western education that emphasizes rational and scientific thinking. Therefore, for any Chinese receiving a Western education, or for Westerners learning Chinese culture, all three views will be familiar to them. Yet, all three views will not necessarily be salient for these individuals at the same time. The view which is the most accessible in memory is the one most likely to be salient to them and the one they are most likely to agree with. According to theory of social cognition, concept accessibility can be temporarily raised by the technique of â€œprimingâ€? (e.g., Anderson, Moskowitz, Blair, & Nosek, 2007; Wyer, 2008). This theory indicates that we can prime some concepts related to a particular view of Feng Shui, thereby increasing the accessibility of this view of Feng Shui for a particular individual. As a result, the activated view would be the one most supported, and behavioral intention to practice Feng Shui would also change. Priming refers to the unobtrusive activation of a concept already stored in memory. A concept that is primed would serve as a frame for subsequent information processing, and influence the interpretation of incoming information in a way consistent with the primed concept (Forster & Liberman, 2007). There is a growing body of empirical research on how priming affects attitudes and preferences (e.g., Shen & Wyer, 2008; Wheeler & Berger, 2007). For example, in a recent experiment conducted by Wheeler and Berger (2007), the concept of shopping was primed by having participants write a story about shopping. In a second, ostensibly unrelated choice task male participants made more purpose-driven choices whereas female participants made more
possibility-driven choices. The reason for this finding is that the concept of shopping is associated with problem-solving for men, but with exploration for women. To activate a particular view of Feng Shui, we need to prime the concepts that are associated with that view. As already stated, people who hold the instrumental view tend to lack a sense of personal control over events. Thus, introducing concepts related to uncertainties and the ups and downs in life may induce this perceived lack of personal control over events and activate the instrumental view of Feng Shui. On the other hand, people who hold a spiritual view of Feng Shui tend to have an appreciation of, and respect for, nature and for their own cultural identity. References to nature and to a sense of cultural identity would remind people of these concepts. After they are thus reminded, the spiritual view would come to the fore (i.e., become more accessible from memory) and become their guiding principle when making a judgment about Feng Shui. Finally, the participants of the present experiment were university students educated in Hong Kong. They had been receiving Western education, which emphasizes rational thinking and denounces superstitions. If concepts associated with their school life are primed among them, the essence of the education they had received would be recalled. They would then turn to that mindset, and try to be more rational and less superstitious. As a consequence, they would agree more with the minimalist view of Feng Shui. Our hypotheses are summarized as follows: Prediction 1: After the concepts of uncertainties and ups and downs in life are primed, participants will have a higher level of agreement with the instrumental view of Feng Shui than with the other two views of Feng Shui. Prediction 2: After the concepts of nature and cultural identity are primed, participants will have a higher level of agreement with the spiritual view of Feng Shui than with the other two views of Feng Shui. Prediction 3: After concepts about school life are primed, participants (who are university students receiving Western education) will have a higher level of agreement with the minimalist view of Feng Shui than with the other two views of Feng Shui. Past research has found that intention to practice Feng Shui is the strongest when consumers adopt the instrumental view, and is only moderately strong when they adopt the spiritual view (Luk et al., 2010). Luk et al. (2010) have also found that the intention to practice Feng Shui is negatively related to the minimalist view. If Predictions 1, 2, and 3 are valid, we can expect that an intention to practice Feng Shui would also vary after different concepts related to Feng Shui are primed. This gives rise to our last prediction:
Prediction 4: Intention to practice Feng Shui is strongest after the concepts of uncertainties and ups and downs in life are primed, is moderately strong after the concepts of nature and cultural identity are primed, and is weakest after the concepts of school life are primed.
Method Participants Participants were 161 full-time university students from the business school of a major university in Hong Kong. Sixty three were male and 98 were female. Ages ranged from 17 to 29, with an average age of 21.89 and a standard deviation of 1.96. All were ethnic Chinese. They were knowledgeable about Chinese culture (which was included in their curriculum) and were able to comprehend the questionnaire items about Feng Shui. They participated in the research in exchange for extra course credit. Yet, participation was anonymous. Experimental Design The experiment had a between-participants design with three experimental conditions: (a) priming the concepts of uncertainties and ups and downs in life, (b) priming the concepts of nature and cultural identity, and (c) priming the concepts about school life. There are many priming methods in psychological literature. We chose Strauman and Higgins’s (1987) priming method of sentence-completion task, in which participants are instructed to complete sentences that begin with certain concepts. The concepts that begin the incomplete sentences are automatically activated. This method is unobtrusive, and can be used to activate abstract concepts that are not linked to any visible icon or image. The sentence-completion task is similar to Wheeler and Berger’s (2007) priming technique of story writing. Each participant of our experiment had to complete four sentences, each of which began with a specially chosen phrase. The phrases that began the sentences varied depending on the different experimental conditions. In the experimental condition in which concepts of uncertainties and ups and downs in life were primed, the four phrases that began the incomplete sentences were: 1) “fortune and misfortune” 2) “fate and destiny” 3) “good luck and bad luck” 4) “ups and downs in life.” In the experimental condition in which concepts of nature and cultural identity were primed, the phrases that began the incomplete sentences were: 1) “harmonious environment” 2) “traditional culture” 3) “nature and man” 4) “spiritual life.”
For participants who were assigned to the school life concepts condition, the four phrases that began the incomplete sentences were: 1) “school life” 2) “the internet” 3) “sports” 4) “the current life stage.” These 12 concepts were identified in our pre-test, using student respondents. The dependent variables were the three views of Feng Shui and the intention to practice Feng Shui. All four variables were measured with the scales developed by Luk et al. (2010). There were 20 items altogether. The respondents made their responses to these items on a 6-point Likert scale, where 1 stood for “strongly disagree” and 6 stood for “strongly agree.” Procedure Participants were recruited in class. They were given a booklet containing several questionnaires from ostensibly unrelated studies. The sentence completion tasks were one of them. Participants were assigned to one of the three experimental conditions by block randomization. At the end of the booklet, the scales measuring the three views of Feng Shui and intention to practice Feng Shui were attached. There were six possible orders in which the scales measuring the three views of Feng Shui could be presented. To counter-balance any order effect, one of the six orders was used to arrange these three scales in the booklet given to each participant. The booklet also asked the participants to write down some personal information including age, sex, major subject, and religion. After all participants had returned the completed questionnaires, they were debriefed. No one questioned the true purpose of the experiment as they were filling out the questionnaires. A total of 194 questionnaires were returned. Twenty one participants did not complete all four sentence completion tasks and were excluded from our analyses. Furthermore, religious beliefs have been found to have a strong effect on attitudes toward Feng Shui (Luk et al., 2010). We wanted to control for the effect of this extraneous variable by including only those who were not religious. Twelve participants indicated in the booklet that they were religious, and their data was excluded from sequent analyses. These two selection criteria reduced the number of usable questionnaires to 161.
Results Table 1: Exploratory Factor Analysis on the Dependent Variables (N = 161) 1 2 3 Statement Intention to Practice Feng Shui I will consult Feng Shui masters for advice. I will install a Feng Shui setting in my residence. I will install a Feng Shui setting in my workplace. I will buy and carry some Feng Shui objects on my person. I will buy Feng Shui guide books and decorate my residence and workplace according to their suggestions. Minimalist View of Feng Shui The choice and decoration of a residence/workplace should be based on aesthetic principles. Feng Shui can be ignored. The choice and decoration of the residence/workplace should be based on pragmatic principles. Feng Shui can be ignored. The choice and decoration of the residence/workplace should be based on principles of environmental protection. Feng Shui can be ignored. Feng Shui is purely a superstition. Feng Shui effects are purely psychological. Spiritual View of Feng Shui Feng Shui enhances my understanding of the human-environment relationship. Feng Shui enhances my understanding of Chinese culture. Making good use of Feng Shui brings me closer to nature. Feng Shui enriches my spiritual life. Feng Shui is the art of living in harmony with the environment.
.81 .77 .75 .69 .66
.76 .68 .80 .73 .68 .63 .59
Table 1 (continued) Instrumental View of Feng Shui Living or working in locations with good Feng Shui will bring good luck. Making good use of Feng Shui can make the residence/workplace more comfortable. One can have good luck by choosing and decorating the residence/workplace according to Feng Shui principles. Feng Shui can change oneâ€™s destiny. Making good use of Feng Shui can help me do well. % of variance of unrotated solution Eigenvalue Mean Standard deviation Note: Factor loadings below .50 are suppressed.
.82 .65 .65 .63 .62 30.60 6.12 .85 2.96 .93
13.56 2.71 .83 3.72 .79
9.43 1.89 .80 3.62 .80
7.71 1.54 .80 3.68 .66
Before testing our predictions, we ran an exploratory factor analysis on the four dependent variables to examine their dimensionality. Four factors emerged with eigenvalues over 1. The scree plot supported a four-factor solution. All items fell into the factors to which they were supposed to belong. These factors explained 61.31% of the total variance, whereas the first factor explained 30.60% of the variance in the unrotated solution. Table 1 displays all the items of the four factors. Table 2: Degree of Agreement With the Three Views of Feng Shui in Each Experimental Condition Type of Primed Concepts
View of Feng Shui Instrumental View Spiritual View Minimalist View
Uncertainties and Ups and Downs in Life (N = 56)
Nature and Cultural Identity (N = 53)
School Life (N = 52)
Table 2 shows the degree of agreement with the three views of Feng Shui in each of the three experimental conditions. We ran a 3 (types of primes, a between-participants 62
factor) by 3 (views of Feng Shui, a within-participants factor) repeated-measures ANOVA to test our predictions. The main between-participant effect of type of primes was not significant, F(2, 158) = 1.20, p = .14, partial eta squared = .03, meaning that none of the three types of primed concepts had a stronger or weaker effect than any other, and this was the case for all three attitudes toward Feng Shui. Also, the main within-participant effect of attitudes toward Feng Shui was not significant, F(2, 316) = .79, p = .46, partial eta squared = .01, meaning that none of the three attitudes toward Feng Shui were any more or less accepted than any other for all participants. More importantly, the interaction of type of primes applied on participants and their subsequent view of Feng Shui was significant, F(4, 316) = 3.11, p = .02, partial eta squared = .04. This significant interaction means that the pattern of agreement with the three views of Feng Shui differed across the three types of primed concepts. As shown in Figure 1, the patterns of the means across the three experimental conditions were in line with our first three predictions. To examine whether these differences were statistically significant, we followed Howell’s (1997) suggestion (see also Boik, 1981) and ran three sets of simple effect tests. Each set of simple effect tests included two within-participant planned comparisons in each experimental condition, as described below. Using a familywise α of .05 for each set of simple effect tests, each planned comparison should have an α of .025.
4 Instrumental View Spiritual View
Li fe Sc ho ol
N at ur e
U nc er tai nt ie s
Type of Primed Concepts Figure 1: Degree of agreement with the three views of Feng Shui in each experimental condition.
Note: “Uncertainties” = experimental condition in which concepts of uncertainties and ups and downs in life were primed; “Nature” = experimental condition in which concepts of nature and cultural identity were primed; “School Life” = experimental condition in which concepts of school life were primed.
For those primed with the concepts of uncertainties and of the ups and downs in life, we conducted two paired t-tests. The first paired t-test compared the level of agreement with the instrumental view (mean = 3.88, SD = .72) with the level of agreement with the spiritual view (mean = 3.62, SD = .86). The second compared the level of agreement with the instrumental view with the level of agreement with the minimalist view (mean = 3.61, SD = .75). Because our predictions are directional, one-tailed tests would be appropriate. We found that both paired t-test were significant. In the first paired t-test, t = 2.66,df = 55, p < .01, one-tailed. The second paired t-test approached statistical significance, t = 1.86,df = 55, p < .05, one-tailed. Therefore, Prediction 1 was quite clearly supported. For those primed with the concepts of nature and cultural identity, we conducted a paired t-test to compare the level of agreement with the spiritual view (mean = 3.82, SD = .54) with the level of agreement with the instrumental view (mean = 3.65, SD = .55). This t-test was significant (t = 2.37,df = 52, p < .01, one-tailed). We then conducted another paired t-test to compare the level of agreement with the spiritual view with the level of agreement with the minimalist view (mean = 3.75, SD = .56). This second paired t-test was not significant (t = .59,df = 52, p > .10). Therefore, Prediction 2 was only partially supported. For those primed with the concepts of school life, we conducted a paired t-test to compare the level of agreement with the minimalist view (mean = 3.80, SD = 1.01) with the level of agreement with the instrumental view (mean = 3.50, SD = .64). The difference was not significant (t = 1.53,df = 51, p > .05, one-tailed). Another paired ttest was run to compare the level of agreement with the minimalist view with the level of agreement with the spiritual view (mean = 3.43, SD = .90). The difference approached statistical significance (t = 1.80,df = 51, p < .05, one-tailed). Therefore, Prediction 3 was only partially supported. Finally, we compared intention to practice Feng Shui across the three experimental conditions by one-way ANOVA and found a significant effect, F(2, 158) = 3.14, p = .05, partial eta squared = .04. But the pattern of the mean differences was not totally in line with Prediction 4. As expected, intention to practice Feng Shui was weakest after the concepts of school life were primed (mean = 2.70, SD = .13), but was stronger after the concepts of nature and cultural identity were primed (mean = 3.12, SD = .13) than after the concepts of uncertainties and ups and downs in life were primed (mean = 3.05, SD = .12). Post hoc tests showed that intention to practice Feng Shui was significantly (p < .05, one-tailed) lower in the school life concepts prime condition than in the nature and cultural identity concepts prime condition. Intention to practice Feng Shui was not significantly different whether the concepts of nature and cultural identity or those of uncertainties and ups and downs in life were primed. Therefore, Prediction 4 was also partially supported.
Discussion Building upon the work of Luk et al. (2010), we argue that each of the three views of Feng Shui (i.e., the instrumental, the spiritual, and the minimalist views) can be activated by getting Chinese students to contemplate different life-approach concepts before being asked about their attitudes toward Feng Shui. Having people think about a concept is a method known as â€œpriming.â€? To test our predictions, we ran an experiment. As predicted, priming the concepts of uncertainties and of the ups and downs in life led to a higher level of agreement with the instrumental view of Feng Shui. Priming the concepts of nature and cultural identity led to a higher level of agreement with the spiritual view of Feng Shui. And priming the concepts of school life led to a higher level of agreement with the minimalist view of Feng Shui. But intention to practice Feng Shui proved not to be the strongest after priming the concepts of uncertainties and the ups and downs in life. Although not all of our predictions were supported, the overall pattern of our findings is promising. The most robust finding of our experiment was that priming the concepts of uncertainties and the ups and downs in life led to an increase in the level of agreement with the instrumental view of Feng Shui significantly above the levels of agreement with the other two views of Feng Shui. The ease with which the instrumental view of Feng Shui can be activated is perhaps due to the anxiety aroused by introducing ideas around the uncertainties and ups and downs of life. Out of a basic instinct to weather the difficulties in life, people tend to search quickly for uncertainty-reducing solutions. For Chinese people, Feng Shui is one of the options that may come to mind right away. Thus, negative affects may facilitate the capacity of priming to influence attitudes. Indeed, this negativity bias has been welldocumented in psychological literature (e.g., Shen & Wyer, 2008). Our findings may be attributed to this tendency. Relatively speaking, priming the other two types of concepts (the concepts of nature and cultural identity and the concepts of school life) was less effective in changing the levels of agreement with differing views of Feng Shui. Following the line of our argument in the preceding paragraph, these two types of concept are less affect-laden and do not have the same facilitating effect as that of the concepts of uncertainties and the ups and downs in life. We suggest that future research be done to verify this argument. But the intention to practice Feng Shui proved not to be strongest after the concepts of uncertainties and the ups and downs in life were primed. We suspect that intention to practice Feng Shui was a function of a number of factors in addition to the primed instrumental view of Feng Shui. University students might be inherently resistant to the idea of practicing Feng Shui for improving their luck because they might try to avoid appearing superstitious or weak. Practical Implications Feng Shui is a situation that can be man-made, natural, or both. However, Feng Shui has by far no place in the literature on human-situation interaction. We believe that Feng Shui will gradually make an appearance in mainstream research on interactional 65
psychology because it is becoming a global phenomenon. Buildings are designed according to Feng Shui rules (e.g., Brown, 2006; Rew, 2000; Weltman & Hayes, 2005), and products and services are packaged with Feng Shui concepts included (e.g., JF Asset Management, 2008). Although it is unclear whether Feng Shui can really improve luck, health, or performance, people who agree with the instrumental or the spiritual views of Feng Shui would certainly be happier living or working in places with good Feng Shui. Feng Shui may be one of the factors that affect subjective well-being and possibly performance. Furthermore, attitudes toward Feng Shui can be classed as types of environmental attitudes and behaviors. This is especially true of the spiritual view of Feng Shui. Environmentally friendly designs and environmental protection may be more appealing to people who have this approach to Feng Shui. City planners especially in China should take this factor into consideration. To this end, the spiritual view of Feng Shui should be explored more often in the media. Over time, perhaps, the spiritual view might become a chronically accessible construct (e.g., Bargh, Lombardi, & Higgins, 1988). The present experiment has shown that attitudes toward Feng Shui are, to a certain extent, malleable and can be changed by temporarily presented situational cues. Although the effects may be temporary, the possibility of change opens up a new horizon for those who want to change others’ environmental attitudes and behaviors. City planners, architects, marketers, and policy makers are among those who may want to change people’s environmental attitudes and behaviors. Some knowledge about Feng Shui would probably be very helpful in their works. Yet, how the environment at large can benefit from our findings awaits further research. Limitations and Future Research Directions Not-withstanding its contributions and the present experiment has several limitations that should be addressed in future studies. Firstly, it assessed only the intention to practice Feng Shui. It did not verify whether participants’ stated intention to practice Feng Shui was borne out by their subsequent behavior via, for example, renovations made in their home or work spaces with regard to Feng Shui principles. Future studies should address this by using a longitudinal research design. Secondly, all participants of the present experiment were university students. The homogeneity of the sample was its strength in that it gave control over the confounding effects of extraneous variables such as age, socioeconomic status, and culture. But if we want to establish the external validity of the findings, the experiment should be replicated among non-university adolescents and adults. If the findings are consistent across different samples, we would be much more confident in stating that the conceptual primes are practical and are significant determinants of behaviors related to Feng Shui. Finally, it would be useful to examine how the instrumental, spiritual, and minimalist views of Feng Shui are dependent on and can affect one’s mental and/or physical health status. The research questions that deserve further exploration include, for example, whether people who adopt the instrumental view are less healthy -- mentally 66
and/or physically -- than people who adopt one of the other two views. Would people who adopt the minimalist view ignore all alternative therapies when they have mental and/or physical health problems, and would people who adopt the instrumental or the spiritual views be more likely to try alternative therapies? Answers to these research questions would enhance the practical significance of this research, and would offer the potential to relate this research to other disciplines.
Acknowledgement: This research was supported by a Strategic Research Grant (7001910-880) provided by the City University of Hong Kong for the third author.
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Asian Journal of Business Research
Do Chinese Consumers Care About Corporate Social Responsibility? Shu-Chuan Chu DePaul University Jhih-Syuan Lin University of Georgia
Abstract As cosmetic marketers actively embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) and promote “ethical” or “green” products in their advertising campaigns, exploring how consumers perceive the role of CSR in the cosmetics industry isbecoming increasingly imperative. This study explores how CSR is practiced and perceived in China, the largest female consumer market in the world. Consistent with Chinese cultural values of collectivism and harmony, the results suggest that the CSR of the cosmetics business is important in China. This study opens the door for further research by investigating an under-served region and industry. Theoretical and managerial implications for cosmetic advertising strategies are discussed. Keyword: corporate social responsibility (CSR), advertising, culture, cosmetic industry, and China
Introduction A growing body of research has been devoted to exploring corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the area of marketing and advertising (Brown and Dacin, 1997; Drumwright, 1996; Luo and Bhattacharya, 2009; Maignan and Ferrell, 2004; Murray and Vogel, 1997; Yoon, Gürhan-Canli, and Schwarz, 2006). Previous CSR studies have examined the motives and outcomes of CSR activities. For example, the literature has shown that CSR initiatives can help address consumers’ social concerns, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty (Luo and Bhattacharya, 2006), improve product evaluations (Brown and Dacin, 1997), and optimize corporate image (Yoon, Gürhan-Canli, and Schwarz, 2006). Nan and Heo (2007) also suggested that an advertisement with a socially responsible message leads to more favorable consumer attitudes toward the company than a similar advertisement without a socially responsible message. As such, CSR has been acknowledged as an imperative
strategic component to advertisers in developing and perpetuating positive relationships with consumers. Most CSR studies to date have focused on the nature and business implications of CSR in Western countries (Gao, 2009; Ip, 2009). With the globalization of today’s marketplace, as well as the economic development of Asia, increasing attention has been devoted to the growth ofcontemporary CSR in Asia (Cheung, Tan, Ahn, and Zhang, 2009; Ramasamy and Yeung, 2009; Tang and Li, 2009; Whiteman and Krug, 2008), although CSR practices in Asia cannot be simply understood as a response to Western interests. In fact, Asian forms of CSR are the reflection of the competition in international markets for both local and global businesses; rapid economic, cultural, and environmental changes within Asia; and its connections with local traditions and cultural values (Bendell and Ng, 2009). In particular, China, an emerging market with rapidly increasing advertising expenditures and consumer spending power, has attracted advertisers and marketers around the world (Ng, 2010). In 2010, China was predicted to become the fourth-largest global advertising market after the United States, Japan, and Germany (Ng, 2010). With the China’s competitive marketing environment, leading advertisers such as Procter and Gamble, Unilever, and L'Oreal strive to find new ways to differentiate their brands. Advertising with CSR messages may become a tool that assists advertisers to stand out in the market, as previous studies suggest that advertisements incorporating CSR messages lead to increased positive brand attitudes (Nan and Heo, 2007).However, little is known about how consumers perceive CSR in China and the relationship between CSR-related factors and consumers’ purchase intentions from a cultural perspective. Culture is a fragmented, dynamic set of subjective values, beliefs, and attitudes that individuals share and experience within a given societal group and situation (Hong, Morris, Chiu, and Benet-Martinez, 2000; Tung, 1996). It has been identified as one of the most critical elements in marketers’ ethical perceptions and judgments (Singhapakdi, Vitell, and Leelakulthanit, 1994) and may affect consumer perceptions and responses toward CSR. Some researchers have studied CSR communication through the lens of culture (Birth, Illia, Lurati, and Zamparini, 2008; Maignan, 2001; Ramasamy and Yeung, 2009). Maignan and Ralston (2002), for instance, suggest that businesses from different cultural backgrounds place different weights on being perceived as socially responsible and convey social responsibility images via diverse techniques. More recently, Ip (2009) and Gao (2009) concluded that culture values (e.g., Confucianism) serve as the underlying ethical norms for CSR communication adopted by businesses in China. On the other hand, Nelson, Brunel, Supphellen, and Manchanda (2006) highlighted that cultural values also impact consumer responses to advertising with CSR themes (i.e., charity advertising). Specifically, Nelson and associates (2006) investigated the effects of charity advertising on perceptions of moral obligation to help others in masculine and feminine cultures. The results showed that in masculine cultures men preferred advertising appeals that focused on egoistic motives and women preferred altruistic advertisements whereas the opposite was the case in feminine cultures. Considering this, we propose that consumers’ CSR perceptions may be influenced by the societal milieu in which consumers are surrounded by and reflect the dominant cultural values to which they belong.
Given previous researchers’ suggestions that consumers’ impressions of a firm’s CSR influences their purchasing decisions (Creyer and Ross, 1997), examining how consumers perceive CSR activities has become increasingly imperative. With growing attention being devoted to discovering CSR practices in Asia, especially in China, the current study acts to explore how Chinese consumers perceive the role of CSR in the cosmetics industry. As a thriving cosmetic market with the largest number of female consumers in the world (Barnes, Siu, Yu, and Chan, 2009), China is considered to be of significant enough interest to warrant such research. The objective of this study, therefore, is two-fold. First, it examines how Chinese consumers perceive the importance of CSR behavior, what they expect about CSR, their attitudes toward CSR, and their purchase intentions (willingness to reward or punish). A second goal of this study is to identify potential CSR-related predictors of Chinese consumers’ intentions to purchase cosmetics. Through an investigation of CSR practices in the Chinese cosmetics industry, this study will bridge the literature gap by responding to calls for expansion of the scope of international advertising research to understudied topics and regions (Taylor, 2005). The findings of this study will help both global and Chinese domestic cosmetics marketers integrate elements of cultural values into CSR activities and provide insightful implications into cosmetics advertising strategies that incorporate CSR themes.
Background Information CSR and CSR in Advertising CSR is defined as “a set of generally accepted relationships, obligations and duties” (Steiner, 1972, p. 18) between a corporation and its stakeholders that is expected to guide business behavior and to assume its social roles improve society’s well-being (Grunig, 2000). It is also referred to as a corporate citizenship function (Maignan and Ferrell, 2000) in which a corporation is obliged to “pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society” (Bowen, 1953, p. 6). Regarding the proliferation of CSR studies, researchers have characterized the existing CSR literature into two approaches: the economic model and the ethical model (Matten, Crane, and Chapple, 2003, p. 111). The economic model focuses on a company’s mission of making profits and attributes its CSR initiatives to economic rationales (Duhé, 2009), while the ethical model highlights a company’s responsibilities toward the society (Tang and Li, 2009). In addition, previous literature has evidenced that CSR-related marketing communications offer companies an opportunity to shape their organizational images and brand beliefs (e.g., Dawkins, 2004; McWilliams, Siegel, and Wright, 2006). Within this mechanism, advertising is an influential component of CSR communication due to its role in conveying corporate values to consumers (Werther and Chandler, 2006). Advertising helps promote the awareness of consumers toward corporate CSR activities (McWilliams and Siegel, 2001). CSR messages that constitute advertising can take forms of persuasive or informative CSR advertising; the former aims to positively influence consumer tastes for products with CSR characteristics, while the latter merely promotes information about CSR attributes or 71
practices (McWilliams, Siegel, and Wright, 2006). A high level of CSR advertising can be regarded as a signal of product or company quality (Milgrom and Roberts, 1986). With this in mind, companies are linking increasingly their ecological and/or social commitment with advertising campaigns (Mogele and Tropp, 2010). CSR in China CSR has been introduced to China in recent years in line with corporate global reach and the resulting external and internal changes in the Chinese market (Moon and Shen, 2010; Zu and Song, 2009). Therefore, CSR in China is best understood as continuous negotiation between business practices and local, social, cultural, and economic contexts (Stohl, Stohl, and Popova, 2007; Tang and Li, 2009). In See’s (2009, p. 4) framework, the level of CSR in China is determined by (a) environmental constraints, including social, economic, and institutional drivers of CSR, and (b) firm-specific discretionary responses, such as strategic, personal, and reactive drivers that illuminate why individual corporations respond to the same public pressures with different levels of CSR communication. Additionally, Zu and Song (2008) conducted a Chinese enterprise survey and concluded that a company’s economic features still play important roles in determining Chinese managers’ CSR orientations; managers’ views of CSR could be seen as economic incentives. Through Tang and Li’s (2009) examination of the websites of leading Chinese businesses and global businesses operating in China, CSR as ad hoc philanthropy, CSR as strategic philanthropy, and CSR as ethical business practice have emerged as three major approaches to CSR in the Chinese context. Xu and Yang (2010) further suggest that CSR in China is closely related to its social and cultural background, and they identified China’s three unique CSR dimensions: good faith (complying with business ethics), employment (increasing job opportunities), and social stability and progress (ensuring social stability and harmony). Despite how existing studies on CSR in China have investigated the elements that influence how companies define and practice CSR, there is still little literature devoted to the understanding of Chinese consumers as important stakeholders in the context of CSR. The Cosmetics Industry and Cosmetics Advertising in China With the trends of globalization and rising ethical consumerism, CSR initiatives have gained popularity across industries (Tang and Li, 2009). In particular, the cosmetics industry seems to enhance global performance and create a positive image by engaging in CSR initiatives (e.g., green/ethical products, “cruelty-free,” natural ingredients, and charitable causes). The cosmetics industry has taken the socially conscious consumer’s attitudes toward animal testing, the use of synthetic chemicals, and other ethical, social, and environmental concerns into account, and has further developed their product portfolios accordingly. A growing number of multinational cosmetics brands have differentiated their products on the basis of being natural or eco-friendly since consumers now consider “the ethical, social and environmental consequences” of their purchasing behaviors (IBIS World Industry Report, 2009, p. 12). Specifically in the Chinese market, cosmetic products made of natural extracts 72
are predicted to experience sizeable growth and will be in great demand among consumers (CNCIC, 2005). After several publicized sandals of cosmetic brands in China (e.g., Procter and Gamble’s SK-II cosmetics have been announced by Chinese authorities to contain toxic chemicals), Chinese consumers have been more concerned about healthy, safe, and effective cosmetics than ever before (Whiteman and Krug, 2008). The prestige of natural and organic product categories is identified as potential segments for future growth in the Chinese cosmetics market. Moreover, China, as the second largest cosmetics market in Asia after Japan (Li and Fung Research Centre, 2009), has become a goldmine for cosmetics enterprises around the world (IBIS World Industry Report, 2009). In 2009, cosmetics sales grew at 16.9 % to reach Renminbi (RMB) 74.0 billion in China (Pitman, 2010). This underlines Chinese consumers’ continued demands for cosmetic products. A series of ongoing national construction projects and the improved socio-economic status of Chinese women have contributed to the rapid growth of the cosmetics market (Li and Fung Research Centre, 2009). The cosmetics advertising expenditure in Chinese market remains in the lead of the top five industries in 2009 (CTR Market Research, 2010). TV, newspapers and magazines are important advertising vehicles to communicate brand benefits to cosmetics consumers (Li and Fung Research Centre, 2009). As a powerful instrument for promoting lifestyles and for associating products with particular lifestyles, advertising of cosmetics usually portrays high values of beauty, fashion status, and physical attractiveness in messages to encourage emulation (Hopkins, 2007). Therefore, advertisements featuring attractive models are effective in influencing cosmetics consumers’ desire for advertised products (Barnes et al., 2009). Barnes and associates (2009) suggested that magazines have a longer-lasting effect than TV for cosmetics advertising in China because they provide detailed product attributes with a sense of authority. Advertising on TV for cosmetics brands is more useful for increasing consumer awareness, while newspapers are relatively flexible in terms of advertisement formats and can provide cosmetics brands with the opportunity to emphasize some product information at a lower rate. As Chinese consumers are concerned about social and environmental effects of the businesses and are passionate about cosmetics products with natural, healthy ingredients, cosmetics brands’ CSR practices and advertising that imbues CSR themes have become more prevalent than ever before. To shed light on the importance of how consumers perceive and respond to the evolving CSR approaches in relation to social and cultural factors, a discussion of consumer-based CSR will be presented in the next section for further conceptualization.
Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses Consumer Perceptions of CSR There has been a stream of CSR research developed to understand consumers’ perspectives over the past two decades (e.g., Maignan and Ferrell, 2004; Murray and Vogel, 1997; Nan and Heo, 2007; Sen and Bhattacharya, 2001). Prior literature has 73
examined consumers’ general responses to CSR and has determined the importance consumers place on the social responsibility of companies (Maignan, 2001). In Creyer and Ross’ (1997) study, for example, they found a positive relationship between consumers’ expectations regarding the ethicality of company behavior and consumer purchase intentions for a company’s product. Along the same vein, Brown and Dacin (1997) elaborated that consumers with negative impressions of a company’s social responsibility tended to evaluate its products more negatively, whereas consumers who maintained a positive image of a company’s social behaviors were likely to have positive product evaluations. Mohr, Webb, and Harris (2001) further demonstrated that the relationship between consumers’ beliefs and behaviors about CSR are stronger when consumers possess more knowledge about CSR issues and when they consider these issues to be important. In sum, growing studies have evidenced the positive effects of CSR on consumers’ attitudes toward socially responsible businesses and product evaluations (Creyer and Ross, 1997; Maignan and Ferrell, 2004; Sen and Bhattacharya, 2001). As more and more cosmetics companies have adopted socially responsible initiatives, it seems to be important to illuminate whether consumers’ purchase intentions are influenced by a company’s CSR activities. Also, research on consumers’ attitudes toward CSR advertising, the brand, and the company that engages in socially responsible behaviors needs to be conducted. Although existing literature has studied the effects of CSR on consumers’ purchase preferences, there is a dearth of empirical knowledge regarding the nature and importance of CSR for consumers in the context of culture (Maignan and Ferrell, 2003; Ramasamy and Yeung, 2009). Hence, this study undertakes the preliminary step of exploring Chinese consumers’ perceptions of CSR in relation to the dominant values of Chinese culture in the context of the cosmetics industry. CSR and Cultural Values in China Among different types of cultural dimensions, individualism and collectivism (Hofstede, 1980) have been widely applied to determine consumer behavior across countries (Aaker and Maheswaran, 1997; Han and Shavitt, 1994). Individuals in individualistic cultures consider themselves to be autonomous, while individuals in collectivistic cultures view themselves in relation to others (Triandis, 1995). Individualists have a tendency toward independence, competition, self-interest, and goal achievement. In contrast, collectivists are likely to emphasize interdependence and value harmony, in-group memberships, and social norms (Markus and Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1995). Based on Hofstede’s (1980) classification, China represents a highly collectivistic culture. With a Confucian background, keeping balance and maintaining harmonious relationships is accentuated above all else and is respected in China (Hermans and Kempen, 1998; Kim and Markus, 1999). As a result, harmony is found to be a value that is embraced by Chinese culture and has been employed in studying CSR in the Chinese market (Wang and Juslin, 2009). Given that cultural values play a significant role in shaping consumers’ attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors, the expectation and importance of CSR and consumers’ responses to CSR activities may depend on the prevalent cultural orientation in a country (Katz, Swanson, and Nelson, 2001; Maignan, 2001). Ramasamy and Yeung 74
(2009) found that Chinese consumers with a collectivistic cultural orientation are supportive of CSR. Using survey data from two cities in China, the authors compared their results to those of similar studies conducted in U.S. and European cultures and concluded that Chinese consumers might be willing to pay more for a product from a firm that has engaged in ethical behavior. Confucian philosophy in China focuses on benevolence, philanthropy, and humaneness (Warner and Zhu, 2002); thus, Chinese consumers may consider society’s wellbeing in their purchase decisions. Alongside this vision, honesty, unity, fraternity, and professional ethics have been widely promoted in the Chinese society (Kahn, 2006) and may influence consumers’ views of CSR. In line with the discussion of cultural values in China, today’s Chinese cosmetics consumers are more health-conscious and are more aware of the side effects that synthetic products may have. Evidence from the brand crisis of SK-II cosmetics in China back in September 2006 (Tai, 2008) demonstrated that Chinese consumers are activists and tend to take action against cosmetics brands that are socially irresponsible. Hence, it is logical to believe that Chinese cosmetic consumers might support or reward companies that engage in socially responsible behavior by paying more for their products. At the same time, they are likely to punish bad behaviors of corporations by paying less or refusing to buy cosmetics produced by firms that are not socially responsible. Accordingly, hypotheses 1 and 2 are advanced as follows: H1: Chinese consumers will be willing to reward cosmetic companies for socially responsible behavior by paying more for their products. H2: Chinese consumers will be willing to punish cosmetic companies for socially irresponsible behavior by refusing or paying less for their products. In addition, consumers’ general perceptions regarding the importance of CSR and their expectations about CSR play a determining role in the investigation of CSR from a cultural perspective. According to Carroll (2004), expectations are beliefs about what a firm should do under the banner of economics, law, ethics, and philanthropy. Consumers’ expectations toward the ethicality of corporate behavior and the importance they attribute to such behavior are significant predictors of purchase decisions (e.g., willingness to reward and willingness to punish); expectations exert a powerful influence upon a variety of consumer responses to marketing including level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, product evaluations, and perceptions of ethical corporate behavior (Creyer and Ross, 1997). Similarly, whether or not consumers believe that ethicality of a firm’s behavior is a critical issue plays a crucial role in many aspects of CSR. Perceived importance refers to the extent to which consumers believe CSR behavior is significant for a company as a corporate citizen (Shafer, Fukukawa, and Lee, 2007). Therefore, perceived importance of CSR is likely to be a reference point for consumers’ evaluation decisions and plays an imperative role in many aspects of CSR. Along these lines, this study extends Creyer and Ross’ (1997) research and considers cultural values as an important dimension in consumers’ perceptions of CSR. In support of the current conceptualization, Maignan (2001) conducted a crossnational study in France, Germany, and the United States, providing preliminary insight into consumers’ responses toward CSR using the cultural dimension of 75
individualism versus collectivism (Hofstede, 1980; 1983). Empirical evidence suggests that consumers in France and Germany are more collectivistic and less individualistic than those in the United States (Hofstede, 1980). Accordingly, Maignan (2001) found that consumers in France and Germany tended to consider social impacts of businesses in their decisions-making process and thereby viewed CSR as one of the determining elements of purchasing decisions. Furthermore, French and German consumers were more concerned about the legal and ethical aspects of CSR than American consumers. That is, consumers in collectivistic societies may pay more attention to the social impact of business behavior than consumers from individualistic cultures (Maignan, 2001). Later empirical investigations have further supported these findings of consumers’ readiness to actively support socially responsible businesses in countries that are identified as collectivistic (Maignan and Ferrell, 2003; Ramasamy and Yeung, 2009). Reflecting the Chinese cultural values of collectivism, the Chinese society emphasizes the cultivation of virtueand morality and has realized that CSR is significant for building a harmonious society, the core of Confucianism’s harmony notion (Wang and Juslin, 2009). Along these lines, it is suspected that Chinese cosmetics consumers, with collectivistic cultural values and a growing social consciousness, may consider CSR as important and expect CSR behaviors among cosmetic companies. Chinese consumers might be especially pleased to see cosmetics companies that follow sustainable or ethical guidelines that focus on the social and environmental effectiveness of their business. Thus, the following hypotheses are proposed: H3: Chinese consumers perceive cosmetic companies’ socially responsible behavior as important. H4: Chinese consumers expect cosmetic companies to be socially responsible. Consumers’ attitudes toward CSR in general may serve as another important predictor of their decisions to support socially responsible businesses and punish irresponsible ones. Considerable research has indicated that personal values and attitudes toward CSR are likely to have strong influences on CSR decision-making by managers (Vitell and Paolillo, 2004). Hemingway and Maclagan (2004), for example, argued that the formal adoption of CSR is related to individuals’ values in a given institutional context. Similarly, Vitell and Paolillo (2004) contend that decisionmakers’ attitudes concerning CSR and their perceived importance of CSR is indeed influenced by the individual decision-maker’s personal characteristics (e.g., ethical values). From a consumer’s perspective, consumers must first have a positive attitude toward the marketers’ CSR initiatives before they decide to reward or to punish a business. In particular, advertising has been widely used as a business component to communicate CSR messages in recent years (Birth, et al. 2008; Drumwright, 1996; Nan and Heo, 2007). For example, corporate image advertising has become a promising tool for effectively informing consumers about the firm's identity based on CSR achievements (Pomering and Johnson, 2009). In spite of its controversial effectiveness (Drumwright, 1996), consumers’ generally favorable responses to advertising with CSR themes are likely lead to positive brand attitude and company evaluations, which thereby influences their purchase behaviors. 76
In the cosmetics industry, advertising plays an essential role in business marketing strategies, with key players in the industry actively embracing CSR and promoting “ethical” or “green” causes in their advertising campaigns (IBIS World Industry Report, 2009). Chinese consumers, who come from a collectivistic society, consider themselves part of a group in a social context, and they value group interests as well as respect for tradition (Schwartz, 1994). Given the traditional cultural values of philanthropy and doing good (Gao, 2009), Chinese cosmetics consumers are likely to be receptive towards CSR promoted by cosmetics brands. As a result, attitudes toward cosmetic advertising with CSR information, attitudes toward cosmetic brands from socially responsible companies, and attitudes toward socially responsible cosmetics companies are expected to be favorable among Chinese consumers. Consistent with the ongoing discussion, consumers in China may value the CSR initiatives undertaken by cosmetics marketers and maintain favorable attitudes toward cosmetics advertising, brands, and companies that incorporate CSR elements. Equally important is an understanding of how CSR initiatives influence consumers’ purchase patterns, willingness to reward and willingness to punish, in China. By examining how perceived importance, expectations, and attitudes toward CSR affect purchase intentions in the Chinese cosmetics market, the results could provide useful guidance for further academic efforts and for the efficient development and management of CSR initiatives in the thriving market. As a result, the next hypothesis and research question are presented: H5: Chinese consumers have a favorable attitude towards (a) cosmetics advertising with CSR, (b) cosmetics brands with CSR, and (c) cosmetics companies with CSR. RQ: What are the potential factors influencing Chinese cosmetics consumers’ (1) willingness to reward and (2) willingness to punish?
Method Data Collection and Procedure The purpose of this study is to obtain exploratory insights into Chinese cosmetic consumers’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors towards CSR. An online questionnaire was developed to examine the proposed hypotheses and research question. A pre-test was conducted with a small sample of female Chinese respondents within the targeted age range to ensure the clarity of the survey questions. The questionnaire was originally developed in English and translated into Chinese through a rigorous translation procedure by two bilingual graduate students. To ensure equivalence in translation, the questionnaires were translated and back translated. All discrepancies were taken into account and amendments were made accordingly to ensure contextual clarity. Data were collected with a sample of females between the ages of 18 and 50 since they are the primary consumers of the cosmetics industry in China (IBIS World Industry Report, 2009). Using a snowball sampling procedure (Barnes, Kitchen, 77
Spickett-Jones, and Yu, 2004), an invitation email with a survey link was first sent to the researchersâ€™ network. The email receivers were informed that participation in this study was voluntary and efforts were made to safeguard their identity. They were then asked to forward this email to other potential participants to fill out the questionnaire. The quality of the information gathered through this method has been shown as similar to the traditional survey method (Coderre and Mathieu, 2004). Of one hundred and eighty-one surveys that were completed, 162 usable responses were employed in the data analysis after eliminating incomplete responses. Given the exploratory nature of the present research, this sample size was judged to be sufficient (Barnes et al., 2004; 2009). Of 162 respondents, more than half (57%) of the respondents were from Yantai, one of the major cities in the Shandong Province, followed by Beijing (12%), Shanghai (6%), and Nanjing (6%). The majority (66%) of the respondents was between 18 and 25 years old, and 34 percent were older than 26 years of age. In terms of marriage status, 81.5 percent of the respondents were single and 17.9 percent were married. With regard to education level, more than half (57.4%) of the respondents were college graduates, followed by some college education (19.8%), graduate school education (13.0%), and high school and under (9.9%).The ethnic make-up of the sample was 100% Chinese. Sample demographic information is presented in Table 1. Table 1: Sample Demographic Characteristics Characteristic 18-25 Age 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 46-50 Single Marriage Married Divorced Other High School and Under Education Some College College Graduate Graduate School Under 2000 Income (RMB) 2001-4000 4001-6000 6001-8000 8001-10000 10001 and more
N 107 49 4 1 1 0 132 29 0 1 16 32 93 21 57 75 16 5 5 4
% 66.0 30.2 2.5 0.6 0.6 0.0 81.5 17.9 0.0 0.6 9.9 19.8 57.4 13.0 35.2 46.3 9.9 3.1 3.1 2.5
Measures All measurement items were adopted from previous research and were modified based on the current research objectives. At the beginning of the questionnaire, the operationalized definition of CSR was presented with examples. More specifically, cosmetic companies’ CSR behavior was operationalized as any domestic or international cosmetic companies promoting “ethical” or “green” products and/or incorporating socially responsible messages and charitable causes (e.g., cruelty-free and donation) in their advertising and marketing campaigns. Next, respondents were asked to complete four sections of the online questionnaire. The first section of the survey comprised two established scales to measure consumers’ purchase intentions including willingness to reward and willingness to punish. Willingness to reward was examined using a six-item scale, which was adopted from Creyer and Ross’s (1977) and Ramasamy and Yeung’s (2009) prior research. Willingness to punish was measured by adapting Creyer and Ross’s (1977) five-item scale. The scale gauged consumers’ willingness to punish an irresponsible cosmetic company via purchasing behavior. The second section comprised an eight-item scale to measure consumers’ perceptions about the importance of CSR behavior and a seven-item scale to measure their expectations about CSR behavior toward cosmetic companies. Both scales were adapted from Creyer and Ross’s (1977) research on the influence of CSR on purchase intention. In the third section, consumers’ general attitudes toward (a) cosmetics advertising with socially responsible messages, (b) cosmetics brands from a socially responsible company, and (c) socially responsible companies were measured. Each of the scales was measured using three items borrowed from Nan and Heo’s (2007) study. Items in the first and second sections were measured on a seven-point Likert scale, with 1 representing “strongly disagree” and seven representing “strongly agree.” Attitudinal items in the third section were measured on a seven-point semantic-differential scale. In the last section, a series of demographic items were used to explore respondents’ characteristics. More specifically, demographic variables including gender, age, marriage, education, and income were collected. A reliability check was conducted for applicable scales. The reliability Cronbach's alpha scores are presented in Table 2. As shown, most of the scales exhibited an acceptable reliability.
Results To explore how Chinese consumers respond to CSR, an index for each construct was obtained by averaging items measuring the same construct. Following Creyer and Ross’s (1977) procedure, one sample t-tests were used to determine whether the mean of each construct is significantly greater than four, the midpoint of the seven point measures. Further, regression analysis was conducted to identify predictors affecting consumers’ purchase intentions towards cosmetics, including willingness to reward and punish, in China.
Willingness to Reward and Punish (H1 and H2) The first two hypotheses focused on consumers’ tendencies to reward cosmetic companies with CSR and to punish companies that are socially irresponsible. One sample t-test was computed to examine consumers’ willingness to reward. As shown in Table 2, Chinese participants reported considering rewarding companies that were socially responsible by paying more for their products (M = 4.70 SD = 1.05) (t (1,163) = 8.46, p < .001), and thus, H1 was supported. To examine consumers’ decisions to punish cosmetic companies that engage in irresponsible behavior, another one sample t-test was performed. The results suggested that Chinese respondents were likely to punish companies that are socially irresponsible by refusing to buy or paying less for their products (M = 4.93; SD = 1.03) (t (1,163) = 11.49, p < .001). This result lends support to H2. Perceived Importance and Expectations about CSR Behavior (H3 and H4) The third hypothesis suggested that Chinese consumers perceived that cosmetics companies with CSR behavior were important concerns. Another one sample t-test comparing the mean score and the midpoint was conducted. The results in Table 2 suggested that Chinese respondents placed importance of cosmetics companies that were socially responsible (M = 4.70; SD = 1.01) (t (1,163) = 8.86, p < .001), thereby confirming H3. The fourth hypothesis further posited that which Chinese consumers expected about cosmetic companies with CSR behavior. The results were also tested through a one sample t-test. As predicted, Chinese respondents showed expectations about cosmetic companies that were socially responsible (M = 5.31; SD = 0.94) (t (1,163) = 17.95, p < .001). These results supported H4. Attitudes toward CSR (H5) The last hypothesis predicted that Chinese consumers have favorable attitudes toward (a) cosmetics advertising with socially responsible messages, (b) cosmetics brands from a firm that is socially responsible, and (c) cosmetics companies that are socially responsible. To test this hypothesis, a series of one sample t-tests were conducted to examine cosmetic consumers’ attitudes toward CSR in general. The results indicated that Chinese respondents had favorable attitudes toward cosmetics advertising with CSR components (M = 5.67; SD = 1.10) (t (1,163) = 19.42, p < .001), cosmetics brands from a socially responsible company (M = 5.71; SD = 1.11) (t (1,163) = 19.81, p < .001) and cosmetic companies with CSR (M = 5.76; SD = 1.10) (t (1,163) = 20.50, p < .001). These results were consistent with the hypothesis. H5a, H5b and H5c, therefore, were supported. Specific measurement items and a summary of the hypothesis tests are provided in Table 2.
Table 2: Descriptive Results and Reliability Willingness to reward (α = .81) I would go several miles out of my way to buy a cosmetic product from a firm that I knew to be extremely socially responsible I would pay considerably more money for a cosmetic product from a firm that I knew to be extremely socially responsible Cosmetic firms who are extra socially responsible should do well in the marketplace Cosmetic firms who are socially responsible should be allowed to earn greater profits than firms normally do Given a choice between two cosmetic firms, one socially responsible and the other not especially so, I would always choose to buy from the socially responsible firm I would pay more to buy cosmetic products from companies that show care for the well-being of our society. Willingness to punish (α = .69) I would go several miles out of my way not to buy a cosmetic product from a firm that I knew to be extremely socially irresponsible I would pay considerably less money for a cosmetic product from a firm that I knew to be extremely socially irresponsible Cosmetic firms which are socially irresponsible should do poorly in the marketplace Cosmetic firms which are socially irresponsible should not be allowed to earn greater profits than firms normally do Given a choice between two cosmetic firms, one socially irresponsible and the other not especially so, I would never choose to buy from the socially irresponsible firm Perceived importance of CSR behavior (α = .87) It really bothers me to find out that a cosmetic firm that I buy from has acted social irresponsibly I really care whether the cosmetic companies whose products I buy have a reputation for socially responsible behavior Whether a cosmetic firm is socially responsible is not important to me in making my decision what to buy (R) I really care whether the cosmetic companies whose products I buy have a reputation for socially irresponsible behavior It is important to me that the cosmetic firms I deal with do not have a reputation for socially irresponsible behavior It really pleases me to find out that a cosmetic firm I buy from has acted social responsibly Whether a cosmetic firm is socially irresponsible is not important to me in making my decision what to buy (R) It is more important to me that the cosmetic firms I deal with have a socially responsible reputation Expectation about CSR behavior (α = .76) Cosmetic firms really should be socially responsible in all of their dealings in the marketplace I expect the cosmetic firms that I deal with to act social responsibly at all times. All cosmetic firms will be socially irresponsible sometimes; it is normal (R) It is no big deal if cosmetic firms are sometimes socially irresponsible (R) Cosmetic firms have a responsibility not to ever act socially irresponsible All cosmetic firms will not uphold the highest socially responsible standards sometimes; nobody is perfect (R) Cosmetic firms have a responsibility to always act with the highest of socially responsible standards Attitude toward advertising/brand/company with CSR Overall, I consider cosmetic advertising with socially responsible messages is dislike/like, unfavorable/favorable, negative/positive (α = .83) Overall, I consider cosmetic brands from a firm that is socially responsible are dislike/like, unfavorable/favorable, negative/positive (α = .90) Overall, I consider cosmetic firms that are socially responsible are dislike/like, unfavorable/favorable, negative/positive (α = .91)
M 4.70 4.37
S.D. 1.05 1.70
4.71 5.16 5.71 4.27
1.67 1.61 1.26 1.84
t-statistical tests whether the mean of the scale is significantly different from the midpoint of the scale; all are statistically significant at the p < 0.001 level
The Impact of CSR on Purchase Intention (RQ) Finally, the potential factors that affect Chinese consumers’ purchase intentions were examined. Multiple regression analyses were performed to answer the research question. Specifically, willingness to reward and willingness to punish were regressed on importance of CSR behavior, expectation about CSR behavior, and three CSR attitude-related scales. 2 The regression model for willingness to reward was significant (( Radj = .41), F (5,
158) = 23.91, p< .001), with importance of CSR behavior (β = .58, t = 8.16, p< .001) significantly related to Chinese consumers’ willingness to reward cosmetic companies that were socially responsible. In terms of willingness to punish, the 2 regression model also appeared to be significant (( Radj = .16), F (5, 158) = 7.34, p< .001). Perceived importance of CSR behavior was significant (β = .38, t = 4.43, p< .001). Similarly, Chinese consumers’ reported willingness to punish cosmetic companies that are socially irresponsible was influenced by the importance placed on responsible corporate behavior. Table 3 summarizes the regression results. Table 3: Regression Results of the Impact of CSR on Purchase Intention Independent Variables
Importance of CSR behavior
Expectation about CSR behavior
Attitude toward advertising with CSR
Willingness to reward
Attitude toward brands with CSR
Attitude toward companies with CSR
Willingness to punish Importance of CSR behavior
Expectation about CSR behavior
Attitude toward advertising with CSR
Attitude toward brands with CSR
Attitude toward companies with CSR
***Significant at the p < 0.001 level
Discussion and Conclusion According to Bendell and Ng (2009), factors such as environmental pollution, health concerns, and the growing well-educated and empowered middleclass have motivated a new wave of CSR in Asia. While the research of CSR has developed extensively in Western countries over several decades, there has been very limited knowledge on consumers’ CSR perceptions in Asian collectivistic societies, particularly in China, the most populous country in the world. This study contributes to the literature by 82
empirically investigating consumers’ perceptions of CSR and the influences of their perceptions on purchase decisions in China. This study fills the gap in the literature on CSR by examining cosmetics consumers’ perceptions of CSR initiatives in the unique cultural context of China. Overall the key findings suggest that Chinese consumers believe CSR is an important issue among cosmetics marketers. Chinese consumers with a collectivistic cultural orientation define the self in the context of fundamental relationships within a larger social system (Triandis, 1989) and are concerned with environmental and social issues (Chung, Eichenseher, and Taniguchi, 2007). Influenced by such collectivistic values and Confucian traditions of philanthropy and harmony, Chinese consumers seem to be receptive toward CSR practices. They are likely to signal their approval of such behavior by paying higher prices for a company’s products or purchasing repeatedly. On the other hand, cosmetics consumers in China are willing to punish a firm that has engaged in socially irresponsible behavior by paying less for its products or engaging in negative word-of-mouth about the company. These findings are in line with the increasing brand awareness among Chinese cosmetics consumers (CNCIC, 2005). With surging purchase power and increasing product knowledge, Chinese consumers have become more sophisticated and brand conscious. Positive brand images have become important factors for value-oriented consumers. Thus, Chinese consumers are willing to pay more to cosmetics companies with socially responsible reputations and will punish companies that have negative brand images. Moreover, this study found that Chinese consumers perceived CSR as important and showed expectations of CSR in the cosmetics industry. As discussed earlier, consumers’ willingness to reward responsible behavior or punish irresponsible behavior is influenced by both expectations and the perceived importance of CSR behavior of a firm (Creyer and Ross, 1997). Since Chinese cosmetics consumers tend to regulate corporate behavior by rewarding or punishing, these findings seem plausible. From a cultural perspective, individuals in collectivistic cultures are outerdirected and concerned with their social roles (Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars, 2000). While some perceive that engaging in CSR is a way to promote social harmony in Asia, others consider CSR to be merely a desire for conformity (Bendell and Ng, 2009). Both beliefs in harmony and conformity are manifestations of a collectivistic culture that focuses on social relations with others. Accordingly, the social and cultural characteristics of China may be closely related to their expectations about the CSR of cosmetics companies. This study further provides valuable insights into the important role of attitude toward CSR in general. Specifically, Chinese consumers exhibited positive attitudes toward cosmetics advertising that communicates CSR themes. Chinese consumers also revealed favorable attitudes toward brands and companies that incorporate CSR initiatives into their advertising strategies. This finding should be considered encouraging to cosmetic companies’ ongoing CSR advertising campaigns and to those considering initiating this type of marketing communication in the Chinese market. The ability of CSR-related advertising to elicit more favorable attitudes toward companies among Chinese consumers will potentially help enhance brand likability. Of note is that the cosmetics industry is ranked on the top in advertising spending in China (CNCIC, 2005). As Chinese consumers tend to be positive and 83
optimistic about advertising’s social and economic impacts (Pollay, Tse, and Wang, 1990), cosmetics advertisements have a strong influence on Chinese consumers’ brand choices and preferences. It is expected that the global trends towards CSR among cosmetics advertising will continue to gather attention along with the growth of socially conscious, middle-class consumers in China. Taken together, the collectivistic nature of Chinese culture seems to be reflected in Chinese consumers’ perceptions of CSR. Finally, the multiple regression results indicate that perceived importance of CSR is the only significant predictor of willingness to reward and willingness to punish in China. One possible explanation for this may be that consumers must consider CSR as an important practice before their consumption preferences are influenced by socially responsible or irresponsible corporate actions. As discussed earlier, the extent to which consumers believe ethicality of a firm’s behavior is significant has an impact on their purchase decisions. Consistent with previous studies (e.g., Maignan, 2001), consumers from collectivistic cultures tend to take social impacts of businesses into account in their decision-making processes, and the importance they attribute to CSR behavior is a significant determinant of purchase decisions. Because collectivistic cultural values focus on the cultivation of virtue and morality, Chinese consumers may consider CSR as important for building a society that is harmonious and benevolent. While expectations and attitudes are not significantly related to consumers’ purchase intentions, overall, findings from this study provide significant theoretical and practical implications for CSR activities in China. Theoretically, this study supports the hypothesis that perceived importance of CSR plays an important role in Chinese consumers’ purchase intention. Further, the present study highlights the crucial role of cultural values in shaping consumers’ perceptions of CSR. From a practical perspective, this study offers valuable managerial insights into advertising strategies in China. Limitations and Future Research This study is not without its limitations. While the cosmetics industry in China presents a huge market potential, this study only focused on the female population of one industry; thus the results may not be generalizable to other product categories and male consumers. Relatedly, more than half of the respondents were from Shandong, which may also limit the generalizability of the results. Nevertheless, Shandong, located in the eastern coastal region, is one of the wealthiest provinces in China, with an annual cosmetics sales growth of 24.2% (CNCIC, 2005). Thus, the sample was deemed adequate for the present study given that this study was exploratory in nature. It is also important to note that, in the current sample, the ages of the respondents were skewed towards a younger generation (i.e., respondents of 18-to 30-yearoldaccounted for about 96% of the sample). Considering that females between the ages of 18 and 50 are the primary cosmetics users in China (IBIS World Industry Report, 2009), as well as fragmented market segments in the Chinese market, recruiting a balanced sample of cosmetics users from different age groups would add power to the current findings. As the cosmetics industry seeks to expand their customer base by encouraging male demographics to increase their cosmetics usage, 84
it would be interesting to replicate the current research design to study how consumers of both genders perceive cosmetics companies’ CSR communication. Taken collectively, a probability and more representative sample could be used in future research. Since the Chinese cosmetics market has been identified as a key growth driver, where the rising living standards have translated into a stronger demand for cosmetic products, the Chinese market represents a potential mechanism for investigating advertisers’ CSR attempts when paired with more mature and developed markets such as those in the United States and Japan. Future research might explore crosscultural similarities and differences in CSR practices across borders. Specifically, additional research should include measurement of cultural orientations to actually examine the effects of cultural values on behaviors or attitudes toward CSR. As Gao (2009) noted, “CSR is a phenomenon of culture” (p. 23). Understanding how cultural values relate to CSR initiatives could contribute to the literature on international advertising. In sum, this exploratory study opens the door for further research by investigating an underserved region and industry. The contribution of this study to CSR practices does not only rest on suggestions for specific industry or for specific geographical environment. Rather, it indicates how consumers’ cultural characterizations may be a key to identifying the ways in which CSR-related marketing communication should be planned. More research efforts need to be made to further discover how consumers’ cultural tendencies affect their perceptions toward CSR and provide useful guidelines for marketers to develop effective and promising advertising strategies. Implications for Business Marketing Practice In China, rapid economic, social, cultural, and environmental changes create new challenges and opportunities for advertisers. Whether certain approaches that are promoted as globally responsible are relevant to the Chinese context is an imperative issue for cosmetics advertisers. Through the examination of Chinese consumers’ evaluations, expectations, and attitudes toward CSR practices in relation to their cultural values, this study yields insightful findings that can be interpreted into important managerial implications. Chinese consumers see CSR performance as an important criterion for business practices, indicating that both domestic and global cosmetics marketers should strive to be good corporate citizens and play a more active role in shaping these expectations in the Chinese market. Two useful advertising strategies for cosmetic marketers that can be considered are presented as follows. First, to create a competitive advantage in the Chinese market, domestic cosmetics marketers may use CSR initiatives as a way to differentiate their promotional efforts. With a vast variety of cosmetics available in China, many cosmetics enterprises devote tremendous resources to advertising and developing a positive brand image to distinguish their products from the others (CNCIC, 2005). For example, Herborist, a popular skin care product in China, emphasizes Chinese concepts of “nature and balance,” and shows their care and respect towards consumers’ health and safety through a series of socially responsible advertising campaigns. As Chinese consumers are becoming 85
more health-conscious (CNCIC, 2005) and more aware of the social impact of the safety of cosmetics (Tai, 2008; Whiteman and Krug, 2008), advertising themes that center on brands being socially responsible in all aspects have determinative effects. For responsible advertising professionals in China, the key is to evolve indigenously derived principles and themes that resonate with Chinese traditions and values and to apply them in a larger social context. Second, the results of this study further provide evidence that localization is an important strategy for global cosmetics marketers (CNCIC, 2005), and CSR has become an integral part of international strategies to target demanding Chinese consumers. Indeed, many global cosmetics marketers have devoted efforts to localize their products and related advertising strategies in China. Since Chinese consumers consider CSR an important issue among cosmetics brands, global players need to incorporate Chinese cultural values into their CSR campaigns and adopt localization strategies such as promoting local social causes. As Barnes and associates (2004; 2009) suggest, using attractive models or celebrity endorsers in cosmetic advertising is an effective way to increase positive consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions in China. Thus, it would be wise for global cosmetic advertisers to employ local Chinese celebrities that are considered to be well-regarded public figures in their advertising campaigns or CSR activities to increase positive influences on consumers. For instance, Olay, a popular brand of Procter and Gamble, employed Chinese celebrities as advertising spokesmen (e.g., Jue Chow), and they developed charity events to capitalize on consumers’ positive attitudes toward the celebrities to build strong corporate image and reputation. Another example would be that L’Oreal has made persistent efforts to fulfill its mission as a corporate citizen in China by engaging in CSR activities. L’Oreal implemented a campaign called “Preserve the Green, Care for Nature” in Shanghai, China and launched the first community plant protection fund (China CSR Map, 2010). In essence, understanding how Chinese consumers view CSR is useful for advertisers in increasing brand awareness and building a favorable brand image. To develop a competitive advantage and increase advertising effectiveness in the booming cosmetics market in China, cosmetics companies have to constantly renew and devote efforts to their CSR initiatives, taking the ecological issues they face, the values they hold that support sustainability, and the ecological interests of consumers with Chinese values and cultural orientations into consideration.
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Asian Journal of Business Research
Confucian Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Way Forward Low Kim Cheng Patrick Universiti Brunei Darussalam Ang Sik Liong Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Abstract In the face of accelerating tumult and change, leaders and policy makers need or should seek new ways of thinking and actions to sustain business performance and growth in line with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Asian countries including China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and Singapore are fast emerging or becoming dominant global business players; the recent rapid heating and rise of the Chinese economy has an impact on the overall global economy as well as the balance of power in the world. It is interesting to note that all the said Asian countries have been influenced historically in one way or another by the Confucianism and its form and style of leadership. In this paper, the authors interpret and present Confucian leadership and business lessons derived from the wisdom of Confucius. From Confucian leadership come the emphasis on positive business dealings and harmonious relationships as well as the value of learning and education; and these bring many benefits and good practices including good business management and corporate social responsibility. The understandings and practices of Confucian leadership in a business organization coupled with the awareness, theory and applications of the corporate social responsibility can indeed bring much peace, learning and economic growth for both the organizational and communal well-being in the region. Keywords: Confucian leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Confucian values.
Introduction Keith Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-American media mogul and the Chairman, and CEO of News Corporation once said in the early 90s, â€œThe world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slowâ€? (BBL, 2011). Very truly, business leaders and managers, nowadays, are facing accelerating 92
turbulence and change and they need or should seek fresh ways of thinking and actions to sustain their business performance and growth in a global setting. Recently, Murdoch himself has faced the shutdown of his 168 years old newspaper due to phone hacking scandals (CNN News, 2011). On the other hand, we are also living in a world with too many problems such as, to name a few, different kinds of pollutions, violence, financial institutions collapse, environmental problems, global warming and a host of others - yet there are too few answers (Low, 2009; 2009a). Because of these happenings, business leaders face great challenges in bringing back their business to normal and most of them have to pay penalty or face bankruptcy. Take, for example, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan had resulted in nuclear leak and environmental pollution from the ailing Fukushima plant and this is considered to be the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, and Chernobyl, as we all know it, was bad. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) apologized to the country at large and announced that it would pay compensation to the affected residents. In the parliament, Japanese lawmakers questioned and grilled the president of the company on nuclear safety measures; they wanted him to take responsibility for the disaster (Singapore Straits Times, 2011). Therefore, it is very important for an individual whether (s)he is a business leader, a manager or an employee in an organization to be cautious and aware, more so, to embrace the business code ethics and be socially responsible. One has to do so or should feel compelled because firstly, the public at large expects corporate leaders/managers to apply ethical principles in their businesses. Secondly, most people expect business to be more socially responsible day by day. Thirdly, people especially the green peace activists put forth that human beings share a single planet with finite natural resources, and it is crucial to ensure the sustainability of the supplies and the resources for present and future generations. Lastly, new sciences and technologies bring along new ethical situations and concerns such as genetically modified, high yielding crops/food or nuclear crises that might cause safety and health problems, yet there are also other threats including scams, online frauds, invasion of privacy, internet pornography. Indeed, many tough situations and ethical concerns exist. Moreover, on the contrary, there is much competitive pressure to succeed, businesses must succeed. People may make their own luck by any means; worse, at times, the means may justify the ends. They would say: “attack or be attacked” so much so that even the movie “Greed is good” [as proclaimed by the Michael Douglas character, Gordon Gekko, in the 1987 Hollywood movie, Wall Street] seems to be fast becoming a reality (Low, 2008). However, one must realize that each of us has a social responsibility. Looking at the bigger picture, one must also agree that each firm has a social responsibility which is the firm’s recognition of how its business decisions can affect society. Ethics, the yardstick, serves as the foundational stone of doing business and it should play a critical role in every business, profit or non-profit organization, society, and nation. Ethics pays. Being ethical imparts a sense of trust which promotes positive alliances among business partners and associates. Confucian leadership can provide the basis through which people do, conduct business or make business decisions. In this paper, the objectives are of two folds: Firstly, is to define CSR in the Confucian-influenced Asian countries, and secondly, is to examine the benefits and relevance of Confucian
teachings in line with CSR both for economic growth and community well-being of the region.
Who Is Confucius? Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) was an esteemed Chinese thinker and social philosopher. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationship, justice, and sincerity. Just over two thousand years ago, the great Han Dynasty Emperor Wu (156 BC – 87 BC), rejected a hundred other philosophical schools in favor of Confucius, effectively making China a Confucian (leadership) state (Yu, 2008). Until the mid-twentieth century, China was so inseparable from the idea of Confucius that her scheme of government and society, her concept of self and relationships, her construct of culture and history all seem to have originated from his mind alone (Chin, 2008). His teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced or etched Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese thought, life, leadership and organisational culture (Chin, 2008; Chew, 2000) and also elsewhere, even in the Western world (Yang, 1993). His ideas have, in fact, been lasting.
Coporate Social Responsibility (Csr) Coporate Social Responsibility is defined by the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) as “Corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.” (WBCSD, 2000). In 2002, the definition was further simplified to, “Corporate social responsibility is the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life.” (WBCSD, 2002). It is worthy to note what Warren Buffet said about business, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” The reason being that nowadays, consumers, investors, governments and even employees has become more sophisticated and more aware of good corporate behavior, or lack thereof. In this new business environment, a company’s reputation has become one of its most valuable assets, and CSR has become one of the key components of corporate reputation. Positive CSR experiences build confidence and goodwill with stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company's actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. 94
Leadership and the Organisational Culture Leadership can be defined as the process of influencing others to facilitate the attainment of organisational relevant goals and this definition is applicable to both formal and informal leadership position in order to exert leadership behaviour. (Ivancevich et al.,2008). Literature articles written on leadership styles have shown that effective leaders must be pro-active; must be able to accept change; leading and managing change (Low, 2010; 2010a & 2010b). Leadership is the driving force of organizations and it has played an important role in every profit or nonprofit organization, society, and nation. Leaders’ capability and behavior may embody strong ethical values in organizational culture; they change organizational structures by exercising their influence over organizations; they create organizational culture; and they take the initiative for the alteration of organizations. In practice, leadership is not only a core factor for the execution of administration for management, but also a significant part for the creation of new organizational culture. In other words, leadership is regarded as an essential element or a core value in organizational culture. In this vein, leadership and organizational culture are inseparable. Confucian Leadership Confucius said that a leader should be upright and act with integrity in order to lead his people effectively and he said this in a very positive manner, “If the leader acts properly, the common people will obey him without being ordered to; if the leader does not act properly, the common people will not obey him even after repeated injunctions.” (Analects of Confucius XIII: 6). Stressing on the importance of an upright leader, he further remarked confidently, “Why should a leader have any difficulty in managing and administrating his country if he is upright? How could a leader correct others if he himself is not upright?” (Analects of Confucius XIII: 13). So, what does he mean by an upright leader? Considering the Confucian sociopolitical norms for the leader, Confucius suggests that those who want to be leaders have to be ethical in having virtuous characters and attitudes. For personal cultivation, Confucius encouraged and asserted on a harmonious interpersonal relations in social organizations, that is, reciprocally obligatory relationship on the ground of hierarchical relations. Furthermore, Confucius remarked, “The jūnzǐ (gentleman) understands what is right; the petty man understands what will sell.” (Analects of Confucius IV: 16). In another words, the gentleman has the proper virtue and understanding of doing things right. He understands what is right and what is wrong when doing business. The petty man, on the other hand, only understands what can make him rich. In Confucius’ mind, leaders had an obligation to cultivate themselves morally; to demonstrate filial piety and loyalty; and to act with benevolence towards their fellow men. Therefore, Confucian leadership emphasized correct moral and ethical behaviour of both the individual and the government. It underscored the importance of social relationships,
justice and sincerity. In short; it was aimed at creating peace and harmony in a society with social responsibility. Henceforth, the aim and purpose of Confucian leadership is to lead and encourage people to carry out a proper life and livelihood and have good relationships with the people around oneself so that more people would attain similar good virtues; and if this continues to be so, there would be fewer frictions in relationships and thus this creates positive energies in group dynamics and teams. All would then be working towards a peaceful and harmonious society, and since everybody behaves in a socially responsible way, the people in business, when relating with their stakeholders (community and society) would be able to prosper in doing their businesses. Furthermore, there would be fewer problems in business dealings and transactions in the wider society and country.
Confucian Values To practice Confucian leadership one should uphold the following Confucian values: The Value of Gentleman(lady) (Junzi) George Bernard Shaw has said, “A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.” This is very true, even for the fifth century Chinese sage Confucius, a person more so, a leader should uphold the value of Junzi (acting and behaving as gentleman(lady). If we were to achieve a state of orderliness and peace, we need to return to the traditional concept of virtue. Virtue is a good quality and way of behaving and is based entirely on the value of Junzi. Confucius believed that human nature is basically good. However, he also believed that this goodness needs to be nurtured and cultivated and the best way to do so is through education. According to Confucius, “unending strength, resoluteness, simplicity and reticence are close to benevolence” which is attainable through self-cultivation, education and performance of the li or rituals/code of behaviour (Story, 2007 cited in Low, 2010c). This also meant that for one to live like a gentleman (lady), one must have the positive qualities of achieving goals and being resilient; not to change one’s mind and give up a course of action easily; simplify things rather than make things complicated and being always proactive before saying out things that have not yet been accomplished. Interestingly, in a capsule, just as Confucius has said, “It is man that makes truth great, and not truth that makes man great.” and “the measure of man is man” (Lin, 1994: 183). Therefore, a so-called great man/lady has to be consistently carrying out good things in a truthful manner to him/her and to others all the times; and even without other people noticing, (s)he should do good and not that (s)he has done just a few visible and truthful things in the past to be recognized as a great man/lady. In Confucius’ teachings, ‘ren’ means benevolence/humanity (love to all men, de Bary, Chan and Watson 1960 cited in Low, 2006) and Confucian leader must practise ‘ren’. Being benevolent is synonymous with being a gentleman. Obviously, being a gentleman, the Confucian leader must take care of the interests and needs of all his followers and supporters. 96
In short, humanism and true manhood is stressed. “A gentleman understands what is moral, a base man understands what is advantageous or profitable” (Chew, 2000: 9). Confucian leader needs to live up to his/her character and integrity in order for his/her followers to respect him/her. Needless to say, if a gentleman were to go and live among uncivilized peoples, then how could these peoples be crude? His very gentlemanly character and actions will influence and help to change them for the better. Zǐ Gòng, a disciple, once asked Confucius, “Is there a single word that a man can follow and practice as his principle of good conduct for life?” Confucius replied, “It is, perhaps, the word, shù or reciprocity. That is ‘not to do unto others what one does not want others to do unto oneself’ (Analects of Confucius, XV: 24; Lin, 1994: 186). The authors are inclined to favour the Confucian’s overall anchor, the Golden Rule, that is, in a positive way, as a gentleman, “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” Applying this principle into the corporate social responsibility, this means that one moves away from oneself and becomes less selfcentred, more thinking of others, and in fact, more altruistic. All businesses should recognize their responsibilities to the employees and to the public at large and make decisions that reflect these responsibilities in clear and transparent ways. Here, the business can then engage the people moving from inactive to reactive to proactive and to interactive. The basic point is that one can argue that business cannot avoid communication but has to enter into dialogue, do something, and engage with the people– market or non-market – in an ongoing responsive relationship. In business, being a jūnzǐ, a leader is courageous, honest and has a real sense of commitment to transparency. One has the mental and moral strengths to venture, persevere and withstand difficulties. One would enhance CSR by leading one’s corporation in a responsible way; a leader is responsible to all his or her stakeholders (Low & Ang, 2011). The Value of Prudence A Latin proverb speaks of, “Believe nothing and be on your guard on everything” and interestingly, Thomas Jefferson, the American 3rd US President (1801-1809), also said in a similar theme when dealing with public expenditure, “The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” Prudence is care and good sense when making a decision or taking action. Being prudent is also another trait of the Confucian leadership. Zǐ Zhāng asked Confucius, “In what way should a person in authority act in order that he may conduct government properly?” The Master replied, “Let him observe the five excellent things, and banish away the four bad things, then he may conduct government properly.” And one of the five excellent things is as Confucius replied: “When the person in authority is beneficent without great expenditure” (Analects of Confucius, XX:2; Pay, 2000). In Singapore, Low’s (2009b; 2002) and Low’s (2005) studies support that strongly influenced by Confucianism, the Chinese mind is said to be pragmatic and devoted to 97
seeking profit. Such a company culture, particularly in some Chinese small and medium companies such as in the “mee pok (noodle) seller corporate culture” (Low, 2005), what is critical is that profits are ploughed back and being frugal is a virtue. Here, thrift involves the use of limited resources — material, capital and human resources, and these results in improving productivity and overall profitability. In Asia including in Singapore, savings and accumulation of wealth through hard work and thrift have often been cited as key strategies of early Chinese settlers to establish their own small businesses (Menkhoff, 1993 cited by Low, 2010c). In fact, Low’s (2005a) study supports that being prudent is one of the success values for the growth of Singapore companies. And Low (2006b) argues that being prudent also serves a crisis prevention, containment and management for the island- Republic of Singapore. With regard to CSR, the authors feel that overproduction would lead to global wastage of natural resources including materials and energy as well as a surplus of supply over demand. One must very well realize that buyer values changes over time and a company which benchmark with other companies may not perceive or act on these values (or customer need) change. In this regard, the company should therefore conitnuously go/resort to the first principle of marketing, that is, looking at and producing products catering to customers and their needs. Producing based on customer’s needs would essentially reduce wastage since only what is duly wanted is produced. When the company produces what is essential to the customers, they are subscribing to CSR for they are, in fact, conserving energy, materials and resources as well as ensuring or upholding the human dignity, for example, to cut costs, companies also rely on developing countries and at times, they may resort to subcontractors who may be dependent on child labor which should, in fact, be abolished (Low & Ang, forthcoming). The Value of Resilience Resilience means facing life’s difficulties with courage and patience – refusing to give up. It is the quality of character that allows a person or group of people rebound from misfortune, hardships and traumas. In this regard, Confucius said, “In making a mound, the job is not finished until the last basketful of earth is in place; in filling in a hole, even if you have only poured in one basketful of earth, the job can surely be finished so long as you are vigilant and persist in doing it” (Analects of Confucius, IX: 19). It is noted that Confucius used a metaphor to encourage his disciples to be resilient and to strive to improve themselves constantly and not to give up halfway. There is a Buddhist saying which goes ,“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking” and the meaning is very similar to what Lucretius (ca. 99 BC) who said, “The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by soft falling.” Perseverance in doing thing, in fact, is a key to success. Yeung and Tung’s (1996) PRC (People’s Republic of China) study (cited in Low, 2002) has found that a relationship exists between certain Confucian values (such as perseverance) and firm performance. Perseverance and industriousness lead logically to focus, working towards the company goals that enhance company profitability, adding to corporate success. Indeed, the value of resilience can be considered as the people’s or followers’ vitality and their drive and, indeed, the latter has made 98
countries such as Germany, Japan and South Korea (Isaak, 1997) economically successful. Indeed we can also argue that the Confucian leadership style can be seen as practicing resilience too. Prudence also adds to the resilience of the leaders and Singapore’s economic strengths (Low, 2008; 2006b). The Confucian leader is bold. “Act resolutely, and both heaven and hell will respect you” (Matsushita, cited in PHP, 1991: 39). As a leader, when you make up your mind to do something, you must have the determination to carry it out. Additionally, as Confucius puts it, “One who has his arms broken three times may become a good doctor” (Zhou, 2005: 170). Confucius has further pointed out that: …a king can’t become a real ruler without encountering difficulties; and soldiers can’t become crack troops without suffering setbacks (Zhou, 2005: 171). To cite a practical example, the researchers would highlight these: With the Confucian Heritage culture (Low, 2009; 2006a; 2005; 2002), Singapore’s ejection from Malaysia in 1965, its caesarean national birth and the influence of other factors as highlighted by Low (2007a), Singapore/ Singaporeans are said to possess resilience. Most or older workers, who have lost their jobs, persevere in finding jobs, and being flexible being open to options in their job search. In times of recession and unemployment, they search for opportunities to keep afloat. Perhaps, this could be interpreted as Confucian leadership of the ordinary people in their everyday lives. They, in fact, subscribe very much to the Chinese saying of “not be afraid of going slow, but be very much afraid of standing still” (Low, 2008; 2007a). Interestingly, the resilient leader also learns; hence he is able to correct himself, strengthens and grows. In the Analects, Confucius presents himself as a “transmitter who invented nothing” (Wikipedia, 2007). He put the greatest emphasis on the importance of study or learning, highlighting that: Not to correct the mistake one made is to err indeed (Zhou, 2005: 79). Never be afraid of correcting mistakes one has made (Zhou, 2005: 80). In a company of two friends, one learns from one the good examples and from the other mistakes which can then avoid. Confucius has relevantly highlighted that one is: capable, one must study; to be intellectual, one must learn from others (Zhou, 2005: 36), profit(ing) by good examples and avoid(ing) bad examples. (Chew, 2000: 13). To this researcher, this means that the Confucian leader learns, benchmarks, learns and improves. Hence, we can also add the touch of Kaizen (continuous improvement). Continuous improvement indeed builds and grows the resilience in a leader. A resilient leader would never give up and would continue to strive for sustainable development of one’s business by implementing ethical codes of conduct in one’s organisation. One would also enhance CSR by seeking or creating partnerships between one’s corporation and its stakeholders to develop strategies and ways for environmental and sustainability issues such as climate change, waste, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility towards a greener environment and a better society. The Value of Personal Commitment In Taking Responsibility A good leader should uphold the value of personal commitment in taking responsibility. A promise is personal commitment to do or not to do something. In terms of being responsible to oneself and others, Zēng Zǐ , a disciple of Confucius, 99
highlighted these, “Every day I examine myself once and again: Have I tried my utmost to help others? Have I been honest to my friends? Have I diligently reviewed the instructions from the Master?” (Analects of Confucius, I: 4) Hence forth, it is important that an individual should be responsible to what (s)he is doing and also what others are doing around him/her. When one looks at a bigger picture, it is axiomatic that a leader should be responsible to his people and environment. Leaders who have really internalised such core values would enhance, if not ensure, their personal commitment. To be an effective leader, one should have great overall, if not, moral courage to step forward and face the challenges of decision-making in alignment with corporate social responsibility. One takes responsibility and performs tasks accordingly to one’s own belief for the betterment of a peace, harmonious and sustainable society. The Value of Sincerity and Integrity Confucius remarked, “Man’s existence lies in his integrity. A man without integrity can exist merely through his luck” (Analects of Confucius, VI: 19). A person’s integrity of being truthful and sincere to oneself and society is of great importance and it appears that many often overlooked that the essence of Confucianism is the “idea of being true to oneself in this world” (interestingly, there is an intrinsic or inside-out approach) when fulfilling obligations to family and others in society (Wang, 2004: 51). When one is truthful to oneself, one would then be able to fulfil one’s obligation to look after one’s family in a caring and sincere way. When an individual can achieve this, then for one to care and contribute to one’s society would come in a natural way. Therefore, sincerity and integrity of an individual are the key strengths of the Confucian ethics when applied to the stakeholder theory/ others in society (Low & Ang, 2011). Whatever, even very little that each of us, individuals and business leaders can do for our respective universe that would be great. After all, it would contribute to the overall goodness, similar to what the late Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi (1869 –1948) said, that is, “be the change you want to see in the world.” And individuals do make a difference in ethical actions. Being a sincere and reliable business leader, one can work confidently in partnerships with the stakeholders such as the government, the political parties and the civil society to safe guard and advance the future of a society with corporate social responsibility. The Value of Stressing On and Practising Virtue Virtue is thinking and doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. Virtue is something to be desired highly. But why virtue is stressed? Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) said, “The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.” What Aristotle meant is that one should think and work for the benefit of the society as a whole in a socially responsible way (and not for benefit of an individual or for a few people only). Therefore, virtue is thinking and doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong; useful to other persons. When virtue is practised, one also enjoys a clear conscience. And a clear conscience is like a soft pillow, and one sleeps well. “A gentleman finds peace of mind in virtue and he covets it” (Confucius cited in Chew, 2000: 8). Rightly too, Confucius has highlighted that “likes and dislikes should not affect our judgment. We should be on the side of what is right and against what is 100
wrong” (Chew, 2000: 9). Again, on anything we do, we should have a clear conscience on what is right and what is wrong. In this aspect, one’s good example is critical. Without example, a leader becomes “a person who lacks gravity (and) does not inspire respect” (Confucius cited in Chew, 2000: 2, italics ours). A leader gains moral grounds and attracts his followers through his examples. His actions are louder than words. As highlighted by Low (2006), role models should be assessed in the light of honesty and integrity. When comes with the time that the followers have doubt and question their leaders’ honesty and integrity, leaders cannot be role models. For small and medium Chinese business leaders, it is a matter of face or honour. In the case of Singapore’s national values, Low (2011; 2009b; 2002) speaks of the Confucian Heritage, here, it should be noted that in 2010, Singapore, together with Denmark and New Zealand, were ranked as the first most corruption free among 178 countries because all three countries scored the same CPI of 9.3. The CPI (Corruption Perception Index) scores countries on a scale of zero to 10, with zero indicating high levels of corruption and 10, low levels. (Transparency International, 2010). Singapore with a score of 2.194 was ranked among the top ten nations in the world in government effectiveness in the 2010 World Bank’s “Worldwide Governance Indicator 2010” Report (World Bank Institute, 2010). It is noted that the governance indicators are measured in units ranging from about -2.5 to 2.5, with higher values corresponding to better governance outcomes. The Singapore’s People Action Party (PAP) track record and ability to fight off critics based on honesty and integrity has enabled it to stay relevant and win all election campaigns since 1959 (Lim and Daft, 2004: 50). By doing this way, Singapore business leaders has sustained, improved and enhanced corporate social responsibility in their businesses. The Value of Ethics Aleaxander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), a Russian novelist and historian, said, “Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless if there isn’t the will to do what is right.” This is very similar to what Mencius had said, men are inherently good (Lin, 1994; Chan, 1973) and that man has the will and the conscience to do what is right. Individuals have ethical attributes that can be cultivated and extends outwards. Currently, to these researchers, there is a need for ethical renewal by applying an inside-out approach. Mother Earth is sick; there should be ethical concerns, not to say, the many environmental concerns, by all. China and India are growing but “the vast majority of Asia’s poor are rural”, “millions more are barely getting by (surviving)” (Wehrfritz; 2008; italics, mine), there are problems of income gaps and other issues. As earlier said, technologies are also changing and with it, various ethical issues. Take, for example, just recently, a ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast on Friday, 11 March 2011, killing hundreds of people as it swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Following these events, a nuclear power plant at Fukushima, after stricken and damaged by the tsunami, produced an accumulation of hydrogen near the nuclear reactors and caused large explosions that heavily damaged the outer buildings housing them. The disasters also knocked out the reactor 101
cooling systems, triggering more explosions and fires and releasing radiation. The crippled plant suffered an extensive radioactive materials leakage polluting the air, water (marine life) and land (vegetation) surrounding the area (Singapore Straits Times, 2011). The emitted radioactive materials have also contaminated the fishing village, farm produce and drinking water. The contaminated water raised concerns about the safety of seafood in the country that gave the world sushi, prompting the government to set limits for the first time on the amount of radiation permitted in fish (Singapore Straits Times, 2011a). Residents living nearby the nuclear plant have to be evacuated to other safer places away from the radiation hazards. And several weeks had passed since the Japanese plant operator, together with the help of the world nuclear experts, were trying to contain the damage i.e. to prevent the radioactive materials leakage from spreading further (Singapore Straits Times, 2011b). Although natural disasters such as earthquake and tsunami cannot be foreseen and be prevented, however, the authors felt that if the Japanese can continue to learn from their past history (experiences), the disaster may have been avoided or minimize. In Confucianism, one should learn not only from the past, but also, from mistakes. Confucius said, “I was not born with knowledge, but, being fond of ancient culture, I was eager to seek it through diligence.” (Analects of Confucius, VII: 20). What are then the learning points from this recent Japan’s disaster? On the one hand, using all these experiences and information past down by their ancestors, Japan may have effectively utilize all these information and craft a better policy to protect the homes and livelihood of its people against natural disasters. Through history, one may map out the frequent tsunamis occurrence coastline, and this would provide a basis for further resettlement in order to protect the future descendants. On the other hand, Japan nuclear crises might have been avoided if a careful and intensive feasibility study has been carried out beforehand, especially on the decision making of building a nuclear plant near to the epi-centre of the volcanic area and that this feasibility study should also include proactive crises management if unforeseen accidents do happen. Referring to this event, one can see that the Japanese response to the nuclear crises was too slow and was based on trial and error basis; more proactive crisis management could be applied. On 7 July 2011, News International announced that the News of the World would be permanently closed that week, the last issue being produced on Sunday 10 July 2011. The 168-year-old newspaper folded over the weekend in the wake of accusations that its reporters illegally eavesdropped on the phone messages of murder and terrorism victims, politicians and celebrities. Police in United Kingdom identified almost 4,000 potential targets of phone hacking. There were also allegations that reporters may have bribed law enforcement officers. (CNN News, 2011). The closure was in response to the developing phone hacking scandal, after a private investigator allegedly hacked into the phone of murdered British teenager Milly Dowler possibly interfering with the police investigation and causing distress to the girl’s parents. The murdered schoolgirl’s mobile phone was allegedly hacked by the News of the World during the search for her in Surrey in 2002. The allegations led to a public backlash and the loss of advertising revenue, as a number of companies advertising with the paper pulled out pending an investigation. The scandal deepened when the paper was alleged to have hacked into the phones of families of soldiers killed in action. As a 102
result of the scandal, James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia, announced on 7 July 2011 that the 10 July 2011 edition of the paper would be the last. On 8 July 2011 former editor Andy Coulson was arrested by police investigating phone hacking and corruption allegations. On the same day former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, jailed for phone hacking in 2007, was also arrested over similar corruption claims. This was followed by the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. Brooks was the paper’s editor between 2000 and 2003, during which time Milly Dowler's phone was tampered with. Prime Minister David Cameron said her resignation was “the right decision”, his official spokesman said. This phone hacking scandal demonstrated the value of ethics is indeed important in our daily business. Just because of this ethical reason, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of News Corporation, met the family of Milly Dowler and gave a full and sincere apology. Dowler’s solicitor replied, “Your papers should lead the way in setting the standard of honesty and decency in the field and not what had gone on before. At the end of the day actions speak louder than words.” (BBC News, 2011). Another example of an organisation that had breached ethical conduct is WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organization that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organization, claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch. WikiLeaks describes its founders as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its director. The site was originally launched as a user-editable wiki (hence its name), but has progressively moved towards a more traditional publication model and no longer accepts either user comments or edits. In April 2010, WikiLeaks published gunsight footage from the12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed by an Apache helicopter, as the Collateral Murder video. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the war in Afghanistan not previously available to the public. In October 2010, the group released a package of almost 400,000 documents called the Irag War Logs in coordination with major commercial media organizations. This allowed every death in Iraq, and across the border in Iran, to be mapped. In November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing U.S. State department diplomatic cables. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantannamo Bay detention camp. In 13 July 2011, Julian Assange, the 40-year-old computer expert was wanted for questioning on three allegations of sexual assault and one of rape, said to have taken place in Stockholm in August last year. The claims were made by two female Wikileaks volunteers. The High Court has deferred a decision on the appeal of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange against his extradition to Sweden to face sex assault charges (BBC News, 2011a). This example again shows that the importance and value of ethics. Because the wrong doings of a single person, the damage to the society at large and even to several other individuals has been done. Thus, the key point here is that one should be conscious of one’s effect(s) or impact 103
on others around us; indeed one needs to self -cultivate oneself to live up to the utmost virtues so that one becomes socially responsible, that is, to lead one’s life well yet not causing any harm to others. The Value of Benevolence Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher said, “Down in their hearts, wise men know this truth: the only way to help yourself is to help others.” And noticeably, love all and serve all is the Confucian message and when applied to the stakeholder theory, it becomes wholesome and without discrimination. Interestingly, Martin Luther King (1929-1968) also said, “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.” Discrimination at workplace is a haunting reality of the corporate world even in this millennium. Bias, prejudice and differentiation treatment rather than actual job-related basis constitute discrimination. However, Confucianism indeed puts the accent on humanism. Love for mankind. And may we add, love for nature too. According to Confucius, “no man is a machine. He should not behave heartlessly like one, or as if others were machines” (Chew, 2000: 5). “A gentleman is (also) conscious only in the knowledge of others’ comfort; the mean is conscious only of his own comfort” (Chew, 2000: 2, italics mine). To be ethical on doing things, one has to consider the impact of the action onto the environment and the public at large. As a teacher (business owners), Confucius further held that to bring forth good results, he must love his pupils (employees) (Yang, 1993; italics mine). He needs to know them well, understand their psychological particularities, give thought to ways and means of making easy their access to knowledge and, to that end, develop an effective methodology. Having said that, Confucius is also very insightful on assessing his disciples or dealing with people, he did judge a person not by one’s word but by one’s action. Take, for example, Zǎi Yú, his disciple, always slept in the daytime. Confucius said resentfully, “One cannot expect to carve on a piece of rotten wood, nor can one expect to whitewash a filthy wall. As for Zǎi Yú, what is the point of scolding him?” Confucius added, “I used to trust what people said, now I want to see what they do before I trust them. It is from Zǎi Yú that I have learnt to change my attitude in dealing with people” (Analects of Confucius, V: 10). The trademark of a teacher’s virtue, in Confucius’ eyes, was loving commitment through his lessons to his pupils’ development. The teacher needs to look into the moral development of his pupils too, and that is an attractive way or value that a teacher may want to hold. In this respect, Confucius always cared and showed concern about his students especially when he was away from them. When he was in the State of Chén Confucius missed his disciples at home. He said again and again to those who accompanied him, “Let’s go home! Let’s go home! My students at home all have great ambitions and have the qualities of literary men, but they do not know how to regulate themselves” (Analects of Confucius, V: 22). Confucius said, “One should choose to dwell in such a place where there are 104
benevolent people who practice loving-kindness. Otherwise, how can one be said to be wise?" (Analects of Confucius, IV: I). Furthermore, the Master remarked, “Illcultivated men can neither be content in poverty nor happy in wealth. The wellcultivated man is always content in benevolence, and the wise man knows how to use benevolence” (Analects of Confucius, IV: II). To these researchers, a very good example of one who practices loving-kindness, as well as being influential and leading the Confucian way is that of the late Matsushita Konosuke (1894 - 1989), the founder of Japan’s Matsushita Electric (Low, 2008). The business owner/ marketer should be people-centered. Putting “people before products” (PHP, 1994: 54), the business owner should also be responsible to his employees as well as customers, serving their needs. The late Matsushita Konosuke believed in respecting and developing people and consulting them on doing things. He said, “Consulting is better than ordering.” He was known for broaching the topic as if seeking advice or offering a suggestion and he would never order his employees to do what he wanted them to do. In other words instead of simply saying, “Would you do such and such?” he would say something like, “I’ve been thinking we could do such-and-such this way; what do you think?” or “Would you undertake this job?” Thus, he made his employees comfortable and felt ease in presenting their own opinions and suggestions on the matter (PHP, 1994: 58 - 59). Nowadays, there are many western examples of leading ethically and the Confucian way of giving back and contributing to the society and these can be seen as practiced by two American billionaires. One of such people includes Kenneth Fisher, an American businessman, founder and chief executive of money management firm, Fisher Investments. To him, loving is best shown by adopting the best way, and that is, giving back to the community by creating jobs for the people. Besides, he has willed 80 percent of his estate to John Hopkins for medical research rather than set up a trust (Tan, 2007; Low, 2008). The other person is Warren Buffet, an American Investment Guru, who has donated $1.93 billion to five charitable foundations in July 2010, the third-highest amount since the investor began donating 99 percent of his wealth in 2006. Buffett’s donations totaled $1.93 billion in 2006, $2.13 billion 2007, $2.17 billion in 2008 and $1.51 billion in 2009, according to regulatory filings and Berkshire’s closing stock prices on the dates the donations were made. The size of the 2010 donation is just above the 2006 donation on that basis. Buffett urged American billionaires to pledge at least half their wealth to charity (International Business Times, 2010). The Value of Continuous Learning The benefit of continuous learning is that one can proactively investigates new perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors, and takes steps to evaluate and improve one’s performance. Very truly, learning prevents one from being narrow-minded. For Confucius, it is important for individuals to learn. The Confucians see it as bad to eat one’s fill all day long and do nothing to nourish one’s mind. Confucius said, “A gentleman seeks neither a full belly nor a comfortable home. Instead, he is quick in action yet cautious in speech. He learns from virtuous and accomplished men in order to correct his mistakes. Such can be called a man with eagerness to study” (Analects of Confucius, I :14) As what Confucius has very well defined the phrase “a man with 105
eagerness to study” as somebody who is not merely study by oneself but who is also willing to learn from good and experience men (teachers) in order to correct one’s mistakes. In terms of the values of learning and education as well as integrity, Low (2006b, citing Sie, 1997 and Cham, 1998) has highlighted these: Wu, a Chinese scholar mentioned that learning, or the Confucian concept of keji (one must learn and be ready to move), was important to Singapore and its future. Keji was also reflected in the way the Government made its education, IT and technology plans about 30 years ahead, and Singaporeans must learn to move ahead in today’s world. In a true Confucian fashion, the Singapore Government has invested much to better the Singapore workers’ educational status. University education is also given much emphasis; the government is seeking to make local universities world-class and best in the region; and with Singapore’s ambition to be the knowledge centre of the region, it is only natural to emphasise research and development. To Confucius, “the gentleman broadens himself by scholarship or learning, and then regulates himself by li (proper conduct or moral discipline)”. The Confucian leader, even in the modern day, stresses on learning, education and high integrity. Its investments on schools and education are high (Low, 2009; 2002). Having the Confucian Heritage practical thriver culture (Low, 2009; 2002; 2011), the Singapore Government relies on the Mandarinate or scholars to administer the Citystate. Although appearing elitist, the efficient and honest civil service promptly attended to the needs of its citizens, and it is said that for Singapore everything was on the table with clear rules (Thurow, 1996 and Schein, 1996, cited in Low, 2009; 2002). Low (2008) has indicated that high integrity is up-kept with the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) under the charge of the Prime Minister’s Office. Indeed, as Confucius highlighted, “We are saying (emphasizing) all the time: Li! Li!” (Lin, 1994, 200, italics mine). The Confucian practitioner sets the heart right (ethical goodness, awareness and reasoning); and does personal cultivation (ethical action and leadership). Learning and improving never stop. To the Confucian gentleperson, to be capable, one must study; to be intellectual, one must learn from others (Zhou, 2005: 36), profiting by good examples and avoiding bad examples. (Chew, 2000: 13). To these researchers, the Confucian gentleman benchmarks, learns and improves. It’s also Kaizen (continuous improvement) in the ethical sense; continuous improvement indeed builds and grows his or her moral fiber. And when thus effected in running a country, it means good governance is carried out. The Value of Teamwork & Team Spirit In Hong Kong, during the dragon boat festival (Duanwu festival), one can see drums pounding and oars ripping through the water. A well-trained crew works at feverish pitch. The goal is to bring the dragon boat across the finishing line first. Dragon Boat Racing has its roots in Chinese mythology, but it’s a fast-paced, exciting international sport. Each race lasts a few minutes, so split seconds matter and teamwork is everything. The achievers will practise rowing in a team, and then take off as arms and oars vanish in a blur of speed. The speed, the timing, the power of teamwork and team spirit are at its best. In this respect, Confucius also stressed the importance of talents and teamwork to get the job done effectively. The Master said, “When it 106
comes to formulating a document of law or decree in the State of Zhèng, usually it is Pí Chén that would work out the draft; Shì Shū that would put forward specific suggestions; Zǐ Yǔ that would revise it; and finally, it is Zǐ Chǎn that would polish it. The documents worked out through the common efforts of the four wise senior officials seldom suffer flaws” (Analects of Confucius, XIIII: 8). In this respect, Confucius explained clearly how each person’s potential and capability in team work can contribute to the spirit of a team leading to the success of a team. Therefore, team dynamics and harmonious relationships are important. If a team consists of players who are too opinionated in their views with no agreement reached in any decisionmaking, team members have to spend much energy in convincing each other and sometimes to no avail. In this respect, teamwork and harmonious relationships are both important factors in team success. Confucian leaders value long-termism, and thus stress much on relationshipbuilding. The reason being that societies cannot survive if everyone does not cooperate and collaborate for the common good. Or to put it in the positive sense, everyone in the society chips in; builds relationships ; contributes, cooperates and collaborates for the greater goal of the common good; and the society progresses (Low and Ang, forthcoming). In CSR, positive thinking and positive team spirit plays an important role in team development and collective motivation of the people. Furthermore, team work with personality tolerances would help and align the team members in experiencing an energy shift that would forever change team dynamics and providing a long lasting result. Figure-1 illustrates positive thinking is important for positive team spirit.
The Value of Good Governance It is true that a well balanced, inclusive approach, according to certain standards and ideals, is imperative for the proper governance of an organization. Leaders and managers should closely monitor employees’ decisions to ensure that they are made in the best interests of the owners and the people at large and that corruption is 107
avoidable. Employees’ compensations may be awarded directly tied to the firm’s performance. The firm’s financial reporting should also be accurate and transparent; it should give complete financial statements, those that are more understandable and more readily interpreted. Firms need to fulfill their responsibility to their creditors by providing good financial reporting. As in the Enron case by conspiring with the auditors and concealing some debts that the company had incurred, Enron was able to more easily borrow funds and ultimately, it went bankrupt because it could not cover the payments on all of its loans. Specifically, Enron did not disclose some of its debts and indeed, its creditors would have been concerned about extending more credits if they had fully understood how much debt Enron already had. In this respect, good governance run by a team of good and reliable people would help and improve the society in a socially responsible way. The Value of Talent Talent or human capital is the primary driver of any successful company, better talents will definitely differentiate higher performance companies from the rest; and talent management is critical when it comes to business excellence and success (Low, 2010d). In this respect, people should be valued and talents respected. Confucius cared most about people. When the stables burned down, Confucius enquired if any person had been hurt but did not ask about the horses. He recognized the free will of every individual, believing that the commander of three armies could be removed, but the will of even a common person could not be taken away (Low, 2010). In this respect, the business also needs to attend to its employees and their needs, providing stable employment, security, fair pay, and safety as well as the fact that employees are treated properly by other employees. Here, satisfying employees, the key issues in modern businesses include diversity, equal opportunity and the prevention of sexual harassment (Madura, 2007). With regard to the value of talent, Confucius said, “Some seedlings spring up but never blossom, others blossom but never bear fruit” (Analects of Confucius, IX:22). What Confucius has indicated here is that there are individuals who can be groomed to do specific tasks satisfactorily and there are some who can not. Therefore, in order to ensure good leadership succession plan for the future, leaders are committed to grow individuals. Confucius was also aware and positive of the fact that young people can be groomed to be future leaders and he remarked, “Young people have great potential for achievements. Who can say that they will not be our equals in the future? If someone has not distinguished himself by the age of forty or fifty, he will not amount to much” (Analects of Confucius, IX: 23). When an organisation is run by team of good talents via prudent human resource development and management, it would help the business in finding opportunities and challenges proactively and in seeking businesses that are corporate socially responsible.
The Value of Peace and Unity Confucius lived in times when there was constant warfare between neighboring states and local warlords had little concern for the high moral principles. He taught the people on the value of family closeness and fatherly care and stressed the importance of peace and unity in social relationships. It is very true that when the families are unstable, and if there are break-ups and quarrels in the families, the whole country is not stable. If the families are at peace, the country is stable and at peace too. Businesses are also run along the family line, creating a congenial family or small group atmosphere. Confucius stresses on the importance of the family; and in the family unit, the father is the key figure. He should be the role model, a good example to his children. For the son, it is the son’s duty to obey without questioning and honor his father, even after death. When the father dies, obedience is given to the oldest brother. Confucius states in the Analects, “Meng I Tzu asked about the treatment of parents. The Master said, ‘Never disobey! ...While they are alive, serve them according to ritual. When they die, bury them according to ritual and sacrifice to them according to ritual’” (Analects of Confucius II: 5). Showing care and concern to his followers, the benevolent Confucian leader is like a father to his followers. Besides, the family spirit is often fostered, and to quote Confucius: A true gentleman is in harmony, and is friendly with others though he does not agree with them…(Chew, 2000: 17). In the small business situation, the father leader/ small business-owner collaborates with his “family members” in a purposeful team fashion, “rubbing shoulders and doing something together also gives the opportunity to share. There is joint purpose, sharing the same dreams and bringing the relationship to a higher plane. There is also synergy” (Low, 2007; 2005; Low 2001: 101). Employees’ successes are celebrated and with effective team leadership, teamwork is fostered and higher performance attained (Zimmerer & Scarborough, 2006, cited in Low, 2007). At the core, it appears that this teamwork, or more appropriately, consensus-seeking culture may be related to loyalty, which is also considered to be a virtue by the Chinese (Bond, 1987, cited in Low, 2009b; 2002). Chinese are taught from a young age to be loyal to their family and kin. Hsu (1984) claims, loyalty to the family will continue to play a critical role among Chinese. Family is important in any culture, but it is extraordinarily so in Chinese culture. But more importantly, “relations among family members provide the human basis for the moral virtues of the Chinese” (Nakamura, 1978, cited in Low, 2009b; 2002). Hsu (1984) has identified some of the significant characteristics of the Chinese family that have a strong impact on Chinese organizations. The Chinese as a people are special in their relationships with others, and a strong emphasis on the importance of blood relations, parental authority, filial piety and loyalty exists. The late Kwek Hong Png, founder and chairman of the Hong Leong (Singapore) group of companies, for instance, pointed this out when he was expanding his business. Attentive to the old Chinese proverb that “when tackling a tiger, one needs the help of one’s brothers, I (Kwek) invited my brothers to join my firm” (Kwek, 1987, cited in Low, 2009b; 2002).
The Value of Caring Towards All Others and Also For the Environment Caring for others is an important aspect of opening up oneself by engaging in relationships with other persons in the community at large. It would help an individual to improve one’s relationship when one demonstrates interest, concern and attention; and it also helps one to become less self-absorbed and more empathic. Volunteering and helping with charity work is something many of us feel that we would like to do but cannot afford the time. Looking at ways to give something back to society and feel more invested in it is very satisfying and rewarding. There are many areas where charity and voluntary work are involved. Children, animals, environmental, search and rescue are some of the areas that rely on unpaid help to survive. Finding an area that is of particular interest can add an important dimension to one’s life, introduce one to new skills and people and enhance one’s quality of life. By finding positive ways to care for others one adds value to one’s life, feel more engaged with others and generate a more constructive, healthy, sharing way of living with others. One can improve the quality of life for everyone. Here, the Indian nationalist Mohandas Gandhi (1869 –1948) once said, “The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our fore fathers but on loan from our children. So we have to handover to them at least as they were handed over to us.” In this regard, the firm needs to ensure its responsibility to the community. It should be socially responsible. It needs to take care of and protect the environment. Firms need to prevent air, water and land pollution. Automobile and steel firms have reduced air pollution by changing their production processes so that less carbon dioxide escapes into the air (Madura, 2007). China, for example, has admitted that it has failed badly; the country has not made much headway in improving the environment, says its Government Report (Tschang, 2007). In this aspect, present day China needs to apply the Confucian values in conjunction with the stakeholder’s theory – particularly in terms of the firm’s responsibility to the environment – to make Mother Earth a healthier and a more pleasant place for all to live. The Chinese needs to realize that in traditional Chinese/Confucian mind, men exist in harmony with nature (One with Nature), and unlike in the Western mind, traditionally, nature is to be conquered; there is a dominance orientation (Adler, 2008). The Value of Contribution to The Society One of the key challenges faced by the successful business leaders is that of ‘giving back’ or returning to the community some charitable services or aids. In this manner, (s)he attains the goal of greater common good by subscribing to and upholding Confucian values and the stakeholder’s theory. Furthermore, to be a responsible individual, one should not condone any activity which is not right or against human rights. Therefore, child prostitution, like child slavery, should not be simply accepted or tolerated by the business leaders. It is a gross abuse of the human rights of those who are least able to do anything. Whoever one is and whatever one does, one should and must do something about it. Just imagine if it happened to one when one were young, or to one’s own child. Individuals and companies alike need to raise public awareness such as sponsoring children education in developing countries and/or sponsoring some awareness events including posting Internet articles and printing simple leaflets [which could include facts and figures to end sex trade/trafficking, 110
prostitution, pornography and child sex tourism]. Street children (they are human beings who need the basic human rights too), particularly in developing countries, can also be attended to. Companies can also help to improve their welfare, and thus fulfilling their CSR while contributing to the societyâ€™s well-being. The families of street-children are often too poor to feed an extra mouth; and among other things, companies can help by giving meals, books/ educational resources and old toys and improve their welfare. Besides street-children, companies can also help prisoners by sending them books so that they can educate themselves to a get a high-school diploma or a college degree (Low and Ang, forthcoming a). In sum, the core values of a Confucian leader can be summarized as Figure-2.
Confucian Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility Upholding Confucian values enable leaders to self-cultivate themselves via continuous learning towards positive business dealings and harmonious relationships; and these bring many advantages, usefulness and good practices including good business management in supporting Corporate Social Responsibility. (This is well illustrated and summarised in Figure-3).
Concluding Remarks Confucian leadership is significantly aligned and in support of the concept of corporate social responsibility. The concept of Confucian leadership is, first of all, started with helping an individual to develop and self-cultivate oneself through relationship and continuous learning to be a better person (gentleman/lady) so that (s)he can later lead more people to help themselves and contribute to the society. When good people leads, motivates and influences other people to be ethical and to do good for the society, more people would become ethical and do good for the society. This coincides very well with the concept of corporate social responsibility in which business leaders are committed to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life (WBCSD, 2002). All in all, the Confucian business leader grows or ‘perfects’ one’s virtue. Being just and ethical to humanity, the Confucian business leader would build one’s credibility, and has the right status so that what one says is justifiable is in alignment with CSR. When Confucian business leaders’ words are justifiable, then what one does can be effective and successful – one is respected and emulated by his or her followers (employees, customers, suppliers, investors and community).
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The Asian Journal of Business Research (AJBR) is a scholarly journal that aims to disseminate new and challenging theories and paradigms dev...