Guanxi in the Western Context
Intra-Firm Group Dynamics and Expatriate Adjustment
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“This book illuminates for the first time how guanxi – a form of social interaction unique to the Chinese culture – shapes social relations in Western branches of Chinese MNCs. It is an important read for both Western managers seeking a deeper understanding of how their Chinese counterparts operate, and Chinese managers who want to increase their awareness of the culture they are immersed in.”
—Davide Ravasi, Professor and Director of the PhD Programme, UCL School of Management, UK
“For anyone who wants to understand China this is an indispensable book, examining the role of guanxi within Chinese firms going global. Barbara Wang offers a unique blend of humility and deeply-rooted cultural belonging and pride that allows her to openly explore how guanxi shapes the behaviour of the Chinese abroad.”
—Diana Choyleva, Chief Economist, Enodo Economics
Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, the concept of guanxi has been widely researched from historical, cultural and political perspectives. As Chinese multinational corporations (MNCs) expand, expatriates are increasingly carrying guanxi with them to host countries, yet little has been written on how this indigenous construct is employed in the Western world. This book takes a theoretical approach to the examination of this phenomenon and proposes a conceptual framework for the ‘guanxi capitalism structure,’ illustrating its fundamental role as the invisible hand in China. Providing empirical analysis, the author demonstrates how guanxi affects intra-firm multicultural group dynamics involving Chinese expatriates and host-country natives in Chinese MNCs. With insights for scholars researching Asian business and globalisation, and practitioners working in Chinese MNCs, this book argues that guanxi significantly alters an expatriate’s adjustment, and offers practical suggestions for cross-cultural management and the process of initiating, building, and utilising guanxi in a Western context.