This study investigates the effects of national culture on the truthfulness with which subordinates communicate upwards 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 postulated to be relevant to this behavior: Confucian dynamism, individualism/collectivism and a correlate of the latter: concern with “face.”
The results of an experiment were consistent with the prediction that in the absence of face-to-face interactions with superiors, Chinese relative to U.S. nationals would make smaller misrepresentations of their private information. Also consistent with prediction based on concern with “face”, both national samples had lower levels of misrepresentations when there was face-to-face interaction between superior and subordinate. However, contrary to prediction, U.S. nationals reacted more to such interactions than did their Chinese counterparts. Taken as a whole, these findings support the importance of national culture and attributes of the control setting on subordinates' communication truthfulness. At the same time, they suggest that how these factors affect employee behavior is more complex than hypothesized.
The International Journal of Accounting,33(3),293-311