Escaping unintended collusion in MBA programmes in China

Pamsy Pun Zee Hui, Warren C.K. Chiu, Elvy Pang, John Coombes

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to examine the problem of possible but unintended collusion between business schools and their Master of Business Administration (MBA) students, specifically as it relates to the recent need to promote ethical behaviour in business practice in a global context. The focal point of the article is on the relationship between MBA programmes and candidates in the context of guanxi in modern business and political environments. The article revisits the concept of guanxi philosophically and connects it to social responsibility and moral obligation in business education. The authors contend that guanxi may have been interpreted too loosely as networking, thus fostering an approach that ignores the important moral dimensions of the concept. The more philosophical approach, which includes such concepts as moral obligation, is recommended to safeguard the integrity of recruiting, student–teacher development, and the coursework of MBA programmes in the People’s Republic of China. In considering the practical implications, the article covers the re-examination of guanxi as a moral concept, the judicious application of caution when considering applicants based on their work experience, the use of free and independent academic judgment when questionable decisions and behaviours occur, and the open discussion of ethical decision-making in course activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Business schools
  • China
  • ethical thinking
  • guanxi
  • MBA education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Education


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