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The contemporary role of guanxi in Chinese entrepreneurship.

Lee, Yiu Chung Edward


Yiu Chung Edward Lee


Alistair R. Anderson

Robert Smith


This thesis explores the contemporary role of guanxi in Chinese entrepreneurship. Although previous research has considered the subject of guanxi and Chinese entrepreneurship, this study aims at providing a deeper and richer understanding of its roles and nature. The study focuses on the relationship between guanxi and Chinese entrepreneurs and specifically deals with the question, Has the importance of guanxi been diminishing in Chinese entrepreneurship? In order to deepen the understanding of guanxi, its nature, characteristics, benefits, advantages, disadvantages, process and applications are explored. Furthermore, as there are many commonalities between networking and guanxi, the study also distinguishes the differences between the two subject matters. In many aspects, it is important to understand the attitude and behaviour of Chinese entrepreneurs. As Chinese entrepreneurs are affected by traditional Chinese heritage, the study also uses different approaches to explain the difference between western and eastern entrepreneurship. The specific qualitative and quantitative technique used for data generation is the adoption of case studies, surveys and telephone interviews. A total of two in-depth case studies, two surveys and thirty telephone interviews have been conducted. From these findings, respondents and interviewees expressed their view points on how guanxi related to their businesses. The findings are used to identify the relationship between guanxi and modern Chinese entrepreneurs, the changing nature of guanxi, and in turn how the changing business environment affects guanxi. The findings from this study conclude that although guanxi is important in China, it is only a tool to implement business strategies but never a substitution, and its importance has been diminishing in Chinese entrepreneurship.


LEE, Y.C.E. 2014. The contemporary role of guanxi in Chinese entrepreneurship. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 14, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 14, 2014
Keywords Chinese; Guanxi; Entrepreneurship
Public URL
Award Date Mar 31, 2014


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