Confucianism, Discipline, and Competitiveness: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Confucianism, Discipline, and Competitiveness

1st Edition

By Chris Baumann, Hume Winzar, Doris Viengkham


258 pages

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pub: 2019-07-08
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The importance of competitiveness has increased rapidly in recent years, where a fresh look at the different forms in which competitiveness manifests is needed. Though the exceptional growth of East Asian economies has been hypothesised previously from a socio-cultural perspective, links have often been vague with little empirical evidence to support them. This book proposes that a unique paradigm of competitiveness has developed in the East as a result of the cultural traditions and social values influenced by Confucianism, and extends this hypothesis by exploring a critical missing link: the role of discipline.

Based on data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and World Economic Forum (WEF), this book sheds light on important insights, through empirical evidence, that culture and discipline play an important role toward a country’s academic performance, and ultimately, competitiveness. In comparing six geographical clusters, this book analyses data by applying the "Inter-ocular Test" – visualisation of data distributions – to supplement traditional statistical mean comparisons. The findings advance the discourse on culture and performance, by drawing attention to the significant impact that improving discipline can have for a nation’s productivity–not only those of Confucian East Asia. Written with the evolving global economy in mind, this book highlights the relevance of discipline for shaping individual productivity for the future workforce, and offers new perspectives on how this can be achieved for all societies through three key contributions: Taxonomy of Discipline dimensions, "Parent-Engagement-School-Discipline Taxonomy" (PESD), and Wheel of Competitiveness.

Building on the authors’ prior works, this book offers a comprehensive look at three interrelated concepts: Confucianism, Discipline, and Competitiveness, and how they relate to performance in East Asia. Written in an accessible style, this book will be a valuable guide for students, educators, practitioners, and policy-makers who seek to further understand the valuable role of discipline in shaping the success of societies, present and future.


"The literature has long aspired to better understand how education relates, yes ‘drives’, a nation’s economic performance. Baumann, Winzar and Viengkham’s work labelled CDC (Confucianism, Discipline and Competitiveness) adds to this debate the dimension of ‘discipline’ as a driver of performance and competitiveness. East Asia has long stood out as a peak performer in academic performance, but it was not well understood ‘why’.

CDC provides evidence that indeed a Confucian approach to pedagogy contributes to strong performance. This book offers a new understanding of pedagogy, contrasting East Asia to other parts of the world. In addition, their "Wheel of Competitiveness" showcases the complexity for developing markets to become more competitive. Ultimately, the proposed new "Taxonomy of discipline dimensions" and "Parent-Engagement-School-Discipline taxonomy" (PESD) should be inspiring for policy makers in education and economic strategy around the globe." Professor Eric Hanushek, Stanford University, USA

"In "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," Max Weber analysed how the economies of Western and Northern Europe managed to develop rapidly based on the Protestant ethic. In particular, the influence of the Protestant ethic on accumulation and use of capital in these countries is well documented. This book on CDC is an ambitious effort to carry out an analogous investigation for the rapid economic development of East Asian societies in the modern era. The authors show through intuition and data that Confucian values of education, hard work and discipline have led to the successful economic development of "Confucian Orbit" societies.

The CDC book shows that rules and etiquette governing school discipline has farther-reaching benefits in the economic arena. Such norms and etiquette - Confucian value of "li" - have been a strong influence in the formation of business relations and company cultures in Asia. High performing Asian firms are characterized by harmonious worker-management relationships and equitable relations between suppliers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).

This book promises to be an important platform for further study on Confucian ethic and competitiveness. It is a must read for those who want to obtain a deeper understanding of Asian business and the Confucian approach to education." Professor Wujin Chu, Seoul National University (SNU), Seoul, South Korea

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures





Introducing CDC

Structure of This Book

Introducing Confucianism

A Foundation for CDC

A Brief History

Contemporary Relevance

Culture as a Competitive Resource

Introducing Discipline

The Missing Link

Introducing Competitiveness

Competitiveness: The Phenomenon CDC Explains

Education and the Economy

What Does This Mean for the Future of Work?

The Gig Economy

Data Sources and Methodology


Our CDC Model at the Micro-Level

Unit of Analysis

Association between School Discipline and Academic Performance

CDC under the SEM Probe

Explaining the Difference: A Confucian Perspective

Education as a Transformative Experience

Effort over Ability

Socialisation under Filial Piety

Role Clarity


Academic Performance

School Discipline

Which Discipline?

A Confucian Approach to Discipline

PISA Dimensions under the Microscope

Student Truancy

Student Learning Time

Student Self-Efficacy

Student Motivation

Student Well-being

Student Outlook on Education

Teacher Performance


Diachronic Analysis of Discipline and Academic Performance

Diachronic Analysis of Elite Performers

Global Competitiveness over Time

Academic Performance of Global Competitiveness over Time

Predictive Model of Educational Achievement and Global Competitiveness

Wheel of Competitiveness

Simulation: Discipline, Academic Performance and National Competitiveness

Take Home Messages from Diachronic CDC Analysis and Simulations


Theoretical Implications

Practical Implications

Research Implications

Outlook on CDC


Author Biographies



About the Authors

Dr Chris Baumann is an Associate Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney, a Visiting Professor at Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea, and a Visiting Associate Professor at Osaka University in Japan; formerly also at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Dr Hume Winzar is an Associate Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney, and director of the degree in Business Analytics.

Doris Viengkham is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) at Macquarie University, Sydney.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in International Business and the World Economy

As ever-increasing proportion of the world's business takes place across national borders, the need to understand the motive forces behind international business becomes greater. Transnationals are now, in many cases, as important as national governments in shaping trade flows and economic trends. As this series demonstrates, international business is not just the preserve of the largest companies, but impacts on all aspects of business and economic activity. This series is essential reading for policy makers as well as researchers in international business and applied international economics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / General