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Shame is an important mechanism in much of the world for discouraging unethical behavior. Shame may be defined as public censure and disapproval, while honor, its opposite, is public affirmation. Shame takes many forms, including embarrassment, humiliation, loss of face, ridicule, punishment, expulsion from the family, and exile. Shame and honor are the primary forms of behavior regulation in relationship-oriented cultures, while guilt feelings play an important role in rule-oriented Western cultures. These enforcement mechanisms are deeply rooted in different conceptions of human nature and give rise to contrasting normative systems—one based on care and personal authority and the other based on justice and rules. They shape everyday business practices in countless ways.

Relationship-Oriented Cultures

Shame-based regulation of behavior is most prevalent in relationship-oriented cultures, which rely ...

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