Social network and guanxi research in china
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Social Network and Guanxi Research in China. Chao C. Chen Rutgers University Dissertation Workshop, Guangzhou, July 2007. Social Network and Guanxi Research in China. Challenges and Opportunities Research Agenda Alternative Cutting Points Research Methods. Challenges and Opportunities.

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Social Network and Guanxi Research in China

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Social network and guanxi research in china

Social Network and Guanxi Research in China

Chao C. Chen

Rutgers University

Dissertation Workshop, Guangzhou, July 2007

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Social network and guanxi research in china1

Social Network and Guanxi Research in China

  • Challenges and Opportunities

  • Research Agenda

  • Alternative Cutting Points

  • Research Methods

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Challenges and opportunities

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Social networks widely studied in the West

    • Covers all aspects of social networking: content and structure, process of social networking, antecedents, and consequences

  • Guanxi and social networking in China

    • Fast growing

    • Accepted into the mainstream literatures of Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, and Management

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Research agenda

Research Agenda

  • Conceiving and Theorizing Chinese Guanxi

    • Examples: Interpersonal Guanxi (Yang, 2001); Guanxi Exchanges (Hwang, 1987); Dynamics of guanxi development (Chen & Chen, 2004); Relational neutrality (Chen et al., 2004)

    • Issues of uniqueness vs. universality of Chinese guanxi

    • A universal construct with one or more Chinese unique characteristics

    • Work at the construct level vs. at the level of functional relationships

  • Testing Western Theories

    • Challenging, Refining, and Complementing well-established theories of social networking

    • Examples: The theory of weak ties (Bian, 1997), The theory of structural holes (Xiao & Tsui, 2007), Relational Demography (Farh et al., 1998), Network centrality (Chen et al.)

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Research agenda continued

Research Agenda Continued

  • The changing role of guanxi

    • Debate on the increasing vs. decreasing use of guanxi

    • Does guanxi use become more prevalent in some areas but less in others? Some guanxi practices more prevalent but others less and why?

    • Antecedents of guanxi, guanxi development, and guanxi practices

    • Assumed desirability of guanxi practices

  • Positive and negative effects of guanxi and guanxi practices

    • Benefits to individuals, relationships, and organizations

    • Negative effects: Corruption, Injustice, Distrust

    • Positive and negative effects depending on situations: insider vs. outsider, levels of analysis, private vs. public resources, intention and purposes of guanxi practice

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Cutting points of chinese unique salient characteristics

Cutting Points of Chinese Unique/Salient Characteristics

  • Institutional Environment: political, legal, social, and economic

  • National and organizational culture

  • Relationalism in social relationships: social exchanges, trust, cognition, affect, and obligation

  • Particularism in justice behavior and perceptions, in applying and bending formal rules

  • Change/reform and guanxi development, prevalence, and guanxi functionality

  • Differential, symbiotic, and conflicting effects of guanxi across structural, dyadic, and individual levels

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Methods of studying guanxi

Methods of Studying Guanxi

  • Network Survey (Bian, 1997; Xiao & Tsui, 2007): ego-centric and full network

  • Scenarios and survey (Chen et al., 2004)

  • Scenarios and experiments (Chen & Peng, 2007)

  • Qualitative Studies: focus groups, interviews, archival data, nominations from participants, etc

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Questions and discussions

Questions and Discussions

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


Research proposals

Research Proposals

In groups of three or more and based on group discussion, propose a research idea on Chinese guanxi and then:

  • Ask 2-3 research questions (which have the potential of being answered by hypotheses)

  • Propose one or more research methods to examine the research questions

  • List expected contributions that your study will make to the field of social network and guanxi

Prof. Chen, Rutgers University


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