Guanxi’s contribution to commitment and productive conflict between banks and small and medium enterprises in China
Group & Organization Management
Advance online publication
Sage Publications, Inc.
guanxi, cooperation and competition, relationship commitment, productive conflict
Guanxi has long been thought to play a critical role in understanding and practicing leadership, teamwork, and organizational partnerships in China. Researchers have argued that guanxi can be usefully understood as a kind of close relationship that obliges partners to assist each other. This study proposes that the theory of cooperation and competition as developed in the West can help us to understand how guanxi affects partner relationships. Findings from data on partnerships between banks and small or medium enterprises in Shanghai support the argument that guanxi strengthens cooperative goals, which in turn results in relationship commitment and productive conflict. Our study’s findings suggest that partners with guanxi interact in mutually beneficial ways that enhance their cooperative goals. Further research is needed to provide a stronger foundation for the causal inferences of these findings, and to investigate whether guanxi as it is known in China can also serve to develop cooperative goals, relationship commitment, and productive conflict among partnerships in other Asian societies and in the West.
This work has been supported by the General Research Fund project (CB13A9) awarded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.
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Wong, A., Wei, L., Wang, X. & Tjosvold, D. (2016). Guanxi’s contribution to commitment and productive conflict between banks and small and medium enterprises in China. Group & Organization Management, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1059601116672781