This paper represents an effort to distinguish between two types of guanxi prevalent in mainland China: favor-seeking guanxi that is culturally rooted and rent-seeking guanxi that is institutionally defined. Different rules of maneuvering the two types of guanxi are identified in light of Chinese cultural and business ethics. Strategies for entering guanxi in mainland China are also suggested.
Guanxi (literally interpersonal connections) is in essence a network of resource coalition-based stakeholders sharing resources for survival, and it plays a key role in achieving business success in China. However, the salience of guanxi stakeholders varies: not all guanxi relationships are necessary, and among the necessary guanxi participants, not all are equally important. A hierarchical stakeholder model of guanxi is developed drawing upon Mitchell et al.’s (1997) stakeholder salience theory and Anderson’s (1982) constituency theory. As an application of instrumental stakeholder (...) theory, the model dimensionalizes the notion of stakeholder salience, and distinguishes between and among internal and external guanxi, core, major, and peripheral guanxi, and primary and secondary guanxi stakeholders. Guanxi management principles are developed based on a hierarchy of guanxi priorities and management specializations. The goal of this application of instrumental stakeholder theory is to construct, for Western business firms in China, a means to reliably identify guanxi partners by employing the principles of effective guanxi. These principles are described in the form of testable propositions that advance social scientific research in this area of international business ethics. (shrink)
Guanxi as one of the key factors leading to business success in China (PRC) has ironically been synonymous with bribery. This raises some serious questions: should Western foreign firms do business in China? How should they do business with Chinese firms? This study investigated the relationship between guanxi orientation and cognitive moral development in an attempt to determine whether the level of guanxi orientation of Chinese business people affects their ethical reasoning. Based on a classification of Chinese enterprises (Nee, 1992), (...) it was found that Chinese enterprises rely on guanxi for business to different extents. However, their levels of cognitive moral development are not significantly different, suggesting that guanxi orientation has very little to do with ethical reasoning (as captured through an established measure of cognitive moral development). Furthermore, time in profession was found to positively affect guanxi orientation; however, age failed to predict guanxi orientation and education turned out to be a negative predictor of guanxi orientation. (shrink)
As a result of the increasing public attention to environmental crises, corporate environmental actions and their effects are a current research hotspot. This study examines how two types of corporate environmental actions influence consumers’ perceptions of environmental legitimacy and subsequent purchase intentions. Using experimental method, this study finds that substantial environmental action induces significantly higher perceptions of environmental legitimacy than symbolic environmental action, this effect can be attenuated by corporate environmental reputation, and consumer-based environmental legitimacy has a significantly positive effect (...) on consumers’ purchase intentions. These findings have interesting implications for both researchers and practitioners involved in green marketing. (shrink)
This study explores the linear logic between consumer ethical beliefs (CEBs) and consumer unethical behavior (CUB) in a Chinese context. A relational view helps fill the belief–behavior gap by exploring the moderating role of relationship quality in reducing CUBs. Specifically, when consumers are more receptive to a set of actions that may be deemed inappropriate by moral principles, they are more likely to engage in unethical behaviors. However, when consumers perceive their misconduct as possibly damaging to the relationship developed with (...) the seller, they tend to refrain from unethical behaviors. CEBs and relationship quality also combine to affect unethical behaviors. Although consumers find the misconduct acceptable according to their ethical beliefs, they become less likely to conduct the behavior if they have a close relationship with the seller. The results contribute to a better understanding of the simplistic logic that connects CEBs and their unethical behaviors and shed light on how close relationships with consumers help contain CUBs. (shrink)
We argue that consumer sovereignty in an increasingly high tech world is more of a fiction than a fact. We show how the principle of consumer sovereignty that governs the societal impact of economic competition is no longer valid. The world of high tech is increasingly responsible for changes in the opportunity, ability, and motivation of business firms to compete. Furthermore, the world of high tech is increasingly responsible for changes in the opportunity, ability, and motivation of consumers to engage (...) in rational decision making. We conclude that we cannot rely on consumer sovereignty to maintain a thriving economy. Instead, we need to develop performance standards designed to meet the demands of the various stakeholders of the organization. (shrink)