Social Capital, Trust, and Guanxi (关系)

  • Zhen MengEmail author
Part of the Perspectives in Law, Business and Innovation book series (PLBI)


This Chapter begins with a brief introduction of the social capital theory. The explanations of social capital by three seminal figures—Pierre Bourdieu, James Coleman and Robert Putnam, who are considered to have contributed much to the conceptualization of social capital—are reviewed in the first section of this Chapter. At the same time, since Nan Lin has contributed to the theoretical development, devised measurements and conducted empirical research in the areas of social networks and social capital, this Chapter also reviews his point of view on the concept of social capital. Then, this Chapter moves on to another conceptual tool: social trust. It discusses the role of social trust in various terms, especially in economic growth. A pair of relevant concepts, namely “personal trust” and “institutionalized trust”, is explained in the second section. Further, this Chapter elaborates a distinctive notion of Guanxi in China, followed by the explanation on the impacts of Guanxi on the Chinese Business Culture. In light of these concepts, this Chapter proposes a hypothesis which can explain at least a part of the issue on ownership of trust property in China. In addition, a short section in this chapter explains the Social Network theory and the Social Network Analysis.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Law, School of Intellectual PropertyNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingChina

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