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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

Charles KN Lam and S.H. Goo

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Confucianism can be applied in the areas that are now governed by company law in the common law system and how it can play…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Confucianism can be applied in the areas that are now governed by company law in the common law system and how it can play a role in improving corporate governance. A gentleman in the context of Confucianism tends to be inclusive and broad-minded in embracing the interest of different stakeholders. In fact, he will balance the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders if there is any inherent conflict and try to achieve a win-win situation. Ultimately, he will run the company not just for profit-making but for social justice and commitment.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examine the leading cases in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom about the law of fiduciary duty and the duty of care and its relationship with Confucianism. In this respect, we review the teachings of the traditional Confucian texts and use Confucianism to fill in the gap where common law rules cannot reach. In addition, we adopt a comparative study approach in examining the law of directors’ duties in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom.

Findings

It can be seen that the concept of fiduciary duty and duty of care is quite complicated and evolving and always subject to the interpretations of the court from time to time. For fiduciary duty, the term itself is quite conceptual and not immediately available to the general public. But loyalty in the context of Confucianism is a very lively and down-to-earth moral principle. Besides, fiduciary duty is imposed from outside, where directors had no choice but to accept. But loyalty in the context of Confucianism is something inherent and something from within. It is a moral principle that if you deeply understand the meaning of it, you will automatically accept it as a good virtue and your conduct will naturally be guided by such a principle. Confucianism can thereby be used to fill the gap where rules and regulations cannot reach. Confucian business ethics and common law rule should be complementary to each other in the development of a Chinese corporate governance system.

Originality/value

This paper is the first of its kind in discussing the relationship between the law of directors’ duties and Confucianism. It argues that Confucianism plays a crucial role in guiding the behavior of the directors and can supplement the abstract principles of directors’ duties in the context of a Chinese corporate governance system.

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Charles KN Lam and S.H. Goo

The purpose of this paper is to discuss two important aspects of enforcement of ethical standards: indirect enforcement, that is the Confucian approach, and common law…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss two important aspects of enforcement of ethical standards: indirect enforcement, that is the Confucian approach, and common law enforcement. In the context of Confucianism, one must adopt the ethical teachings in a moderate or “middle” way. We should not be too attached to the liberal interpretation of the Confucian texts but must have the wisdom to apply the concepts case-by-case. The issue then is if there are no legal consequences or punishment, then how we can ensure that someone will continue to comply with the standards.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze the Confucian texts in relation to the enforcement of the ethical standards. The authors investigate the Entity Maximization and Sustainability Model by referring to the exit option, the voice option, the influence exerted on the board of directors, the sending of the Confucian representatives to sit on the board of directors, the oppression remedy and statutory derivative actions. The authors adopt a comparative study approach and argue that the Confucian enforcement of ethics can fill in the gap where common law rules of procedure cannot reach in the context of Chinese corporate governance system.

Findings

By referring to the Confucian teaching, there are several ways to encourage the superior to follow the ethical standards, namely, education, fear of punishment by society, peer pressure, intrinsic value, continuing education and codification of Confucian value/moral standards. In addition, there are several enforcement options based on the Entity Maximization and Sustainability Model, which is highly relevant to the enforcement model of Confucianism.

Originality/value

It is the first of its kind in strengthening the enforcement of Chinese business ethics by adopting the Confucian approach and common law approach. The two are not mutually exclusive but complementary with each other to bring the enforcement of Chinese business ethics to the next level.

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Shahid M. Shahidullah

Delves into history to find out if sociological knowledge can be applied successfully to policy making. Explains that society is based on the use of multiple knowledge…

Abstract

Delves into history to find out if sociological knowledge can be applied successfully to policy making. Explains that society is based on the use of multiple knowledge structures and belief systems. Cites examples of centres which were set up in the USA to improve understanding and knowledge in a specific area, which could then contribute towards policy making and, ultimately, improved practice. Discusses the application of knowledge at various points in history, indicating that ruling elites are not motivated by knowledge (intellect) but by sentiment, and that this is still the case today. Refers to various literary works on sociological practice. Advocates that modern social research should be driven by policy issues and that sociologists should seize the opportunity, presented by decentralization, to become policy makers in their own communities.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1964

MISS ANNE SHAW's presence on the platform at the annual general meeting of the Management Consultants Association was a solid assurance that work study still lies within…

Abstract

MISS ANNE SHAW's presence on the platform at the annual general meeting of the Management Consultants Association was a solid assurance that work study still lies within its scope. The initial impression was weakened, however, when the chairman, Mr. D. J. Nicolson, mentioned that the bulk of consultancy work was no longer concerned with work study. Instead, it gave more than half its attention to policymaking and the broad aspects of organising financial, manufacturing and marketing resources.

Details

Work Study, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0043-8022

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