The Chinese notion of guanxi

Dorothy Ai Wan YEN*, Bradley R. BARNES, Cheng Lu WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review


This Chapter provides a review of the literature on the Chinese notion of "guanxi" - which has been referred to as relationships' and connections' in English. The aim of the Chapter is to clearly identify and explore the major streams of conceptual and empirical research that have been pursued on this subject. The English translation does not adequately reflect the wider cultural implications that the notion embodies. Guanxi describes the basic dynamics in personalized networks of influence and emphasizes the possibility of using influence in personal relationships to secure a better position and/or to gain a competitive edge in a business transaction This explains why personal connections and loyalty are often more important than organization affiliations or legal standards in the Chinese context. In short, guanxi represents a social network concept that the Chinese have used and developed for many thousands of years and the art of guanxi has been practised and applied in all sorts of relationships, including business.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Contemporary Marketing in China: Theories and Practices
EditorsCheng Lu WANG
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781622576432
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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