A typology of Guanxi-based governance mechanisms for knowledge transfer in business networks of Chinese small- and medium-sized enterrpises

Wai-Wai Ko, Gordon Liu

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Abstract

Guanxi has strong implications for interactions among individuals in Chinese society. This study investigates guanxi-based governance mechanisms in the context of knowledge transfer among Chinese small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. We analyze, in-depth, qualitative interview data gathered from 78 Chinese engineers who work for Chinese small and medium-sized die-casting manufacturers. Our findings reveal that guanxi influences the production of three forms of guanxi-enabled trust: guanxi-enabled relational trust, calculative trust, and institutional trust. By combining these forms of trust, we generate a typology of seven guanxi-based governance mechanisms for knowledge transfer—“guanxi-hu,” “huibao,” “lun,” “gan-qing,” “jiao-qing,” “ren-qing,” and “mianzi.” We discuss the research and managerial implications of our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-590
Number of pages43
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Volume42
Issue number4
Early online date3 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Guanxi
  • social exchange theory
  • social capital theory
  • institutional theory
  • knowledge transfer
  • China
  • small and medium-sized enterprises
  • network
  • trust

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