Australian Expatriates' Experiences in working behind the Bamboo Curtain: An Examination of Guanxi in post-Communist China.
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AbstractExisting literature examining business relationships in China suggests that China has a business culture that is based on strong family networks or cultural ties secured in guanxi connections, which are underpinned by strong Confucian ethics. We agree that Chinese business may have cultural attributes that are distinctly national (that international businesses and their expatriates ignore at their peril), but we also question the continued significance of these historical cultural concepts in a globalizing world. We query whether a system of networks arising from existing state-owned enterprises that has been consolidated during 50 years of communism can still be applicable on the considerably larger scale of multinational corporate business on which Chinese capitalism in the 21st century operates. Interview data collected from Australian expatriates in Shanghai in November 2001 is used to assess the relevance of guanxi. Our findings suggest that the necessity for expatriates to establish guanxi is determined by company size and the individual expatriate's length of service in China.
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