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Guanxi’s contribution to commitment and productive conflict between banks and small and medium enterprises in China
Group & Organization Management
  • Shiu Ho, Alfred WONG, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Lu WEI, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Xinyan WANG, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics
  • Dean William TJOSVOLD, Lingnan University, Hong Kong; Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Sage Publications, Inc.
  • guanxi,
  • cooperation and competition,
  • relationship commitment,
  • productive conflict

Guanxi has long been thought to play a critical role in understanding and practicing leadership, teamwork, and organizational partnerships in China. Researchers have argued that guanxi can be usefully understood as a kind of close relationship that obliges partners to assist each other. This study proposes that the theory of cooperation and competition as developed in the West can help us to understand how guanxi affects partner relationships. Findings from data on partnerships between banks and small or medium enterprises in Shanghai support the argument that guanxi strengthens cooperative goals, which in turn results in relationship commitment and productive conflict. Our study’s findings suggest that partners with guanxi interact in mutually beneficial ways that enhance their cooperative goals. Further research is needed to provide a stronger foundation for the causal inferences of these findings, and to investigate whether guanxi as it is known in China can also serve to develop cooperative goals, relationship commitment, and productive conflict among partnerships in other Asian societies and in the West.

Funding Information
This work has been supported by the General Research Fund project (CB13A9) awarded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. {CB13A9}
Publisher Statement
Copyright © The Author(s) 2016. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.
Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Wong, A., Wei, L., Wang, X. & Tjosvold, D. (2016). Guanxi’s contribution to commitment and productive conflict between banks and small and medium enterprises in China. Group & Organization Management, 42(6), 819-845. doi: 10.1177/1059601116672781