Investigating guanxi dimensions and relationship outcomes: Insights from Sino-Anglo business relationships

Bradley R. BARNES*, Dorothy YEN, Lianxi ZHOU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to develop and test a concept for improving Anglo-Chinese business relationships. By piecing together and incorporating both Chinese and western relationship constructs into a cohesive framework and testing this on a sample of Taiwanese importers, the study conceptually and empirically advances our understanding of the discipline further. Specifically, three facets of guanxi, namely ganqing (an affective element), renqing (reciprocation and favor), and xinren (personal trust) are conceptualized to determine cooperation and coordination, which in turn lead to improved performance. Based on a sample of 208 buyers (surveying perceptions of their relationships with Anglo suppliers), we provide empirical support for our concept and reveal that ganqing, renqing and xinren are crucial for fostering the development of such Sino-Anglo relationships. By providing an international flavor in terms of the constructs outlined and the importer-exporter context, the study provides fresh insights to help broaden our horizon further and understand more about relationships in an international context. Several implications are extracted from the study which a) western marketers importantly need to practice as they grapple to enter Chinese markets and nurture business relations, b) Chinese buyers can consider when managing their supplier portfolios and c) academics can use to help measure important relational constructs and undertaking research in a Chinese context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-521
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Buyer-supplier relationships
  • China.
  • Cooperation
  • Coordination
  • Guanxi
  • Performance


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