ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (09): 853-862.

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The Construct of Employee’s Work Ethic in China

WANG Ming-Hui;GUO Ling-Ling;ZHAO Guo-Xiang;LING Wen-Quan   

  1. (1 Institute of Psychology and Behavior, Henan University, Kaifeng 475000, China)
    (2 School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China)
  • Received:2008-06-23 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2009-09-30 Online:2009-09-30
  • Contact: LING Wen-Quan

Abstract: With the gradual formation of the global economic integration, more and more enterprises are facing the dilem-mas to balance the economic benefits and social benefits, or the pursuit of corporate profits and complying with mor-als and ethics. Ethical issues in organizations have been regarded as one of the core elements which can obtain com-petitive edges. Consequently, issue of business ethic have emerged under such circumstances and received more and more attention in the global literature. Business ethic is composed of two aspects: organizational ethic and work ethic. Organizational ethic refers to the rules of conduct and the ethical norms which should be followed when organiza-tions engaged in commercial activities and dealt with the relationship between inside and outside organizations. Work ethic, as an aspect of organizational ethic, is a series of ethic norms which the employees comply with when they perform their job, interact with others and treat environment in the workplace. Since Weber proposed that the Protes-tant work ethic was the origin of the Spirit of Capitalism, the study on the work ethic of employees has yielded some achievement in the field of the western organizational behavior. Moreover, it has become one of the critical issues in the fields of organizational behavior and human resource management. However, limited data are available in China regarding the importance of work ethic in human resource management and organizational behavior. Therefore, the current study was designed to development a measure of work ethic among Chinese employees (eg., The Work Ethic Questionnaire) to test and cross-validate the construct of the work ethic.
The methods used in this study involved literature review, interview, pilot-testing and survey. Based on the literature review, interview and pilot-testing, items for the Work Ethic Questionnaire were developed. The sur-vey data were from 955 employees of 21 different enterprises and from various districts in China, 508 under-graduates of six universities and 461 soldiers from two military units. The survey data were mainly analyzed using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and cross-validation test.
The result showed that work ethic of Chinese employees was a multi-dimension construct which included occu-pational integrity, work meaning, diligence, enterprising and interpersonal harmony. The Work Ethic Questionnaire had high validity and reliability. That’s to say, a five-dimension model could reflect the Chinese employees’ work ethic construct, which was different from the results of those researches in the West. At the same time, the five-dimension model was tested by using the cross-validation among college student sample and soldier sample and showed similar goodness-of-fit. The construct, content, and connotation of work ethic dimension and their differences compared to western results were discussed. Finally, further research needs were discussed. These needs include the examination of the impact of the work ethic, and the exploration of the factors that may influence work ethic.

Key words: employee, work ethic, construct, cross-validation test