National Culture and Subordinates' Upward Communication of Private Information
Posted: 26 Feb 1998
Date Written: November 1997
This study investigates the effects of national culture on the truthfulness of subordinates' upward communications under alternate pay schemes. U.S. nationals and Chinese nationals in Taiwan were used to represent members of two cultures that significantly diverge on three cultural dimensions hypothesized to have major impacts on the focal subordinate behavior -- Confucian dynamism, individualism/collectivisim and a correlate of the latter: concern with "face". The results of an experiment were consistent with the prediction that Chinese nationals would make smaller misrepresentations of their private information, as compared to U.S. nationals working under the same pay scheme. The findings also supported the hypothesized effect of concern with "face" in the presence of face-to-face interactions between superiors and subordinates. However, contrary to prediction, U.S. nationals reacted more to such interactions than did their Chinese counterparts. These findings as a whole support the importance of national culture and attributes of the employment setting on subordinates' communication truthfulness. They also provide the basis for suggesting directions for future research.
JEL Classification: M40, M46
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation