Publication Type

Book Chapter

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

1-2001

Abstract

This chapter explores the nature of Chinese business practices by looking at their social foundations. We argue that the use of an inter-subjective logic based on the norms of social relationships provides an institutional foundation for economic transactions in Chinese business settings. The logic of social relationships-or what we call guanxi logic-is embedded in daily practices of the Chinese business community. Rather than making economic decisions less "economic", relational rules embedded in guanxi places interpersonal business transactions within a prescriptive framework, thereby increasing the calculability of economic outcomes. Guanxi logic is, therefore, a socially meaningful way to enhance economic rationality. Although relational rules play a role in Chinese economic practices similar to that of a legal framework in Western economic practices, the results are quite different. Whereas Western legal norms depersonalise market activity, Chinese relational rules personalise transactions, making them part of the interpersonal social matrix of daily life.

Keywords

International business enterprises, Corporate culture, China, Chinese businessmen, Guanxi

Discipline

Organizational Behavior and Theory | Sociology

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Rules and Networks: The Legal Culture of Global Business Transactions

Editor

Appelbaum, Richard P.; Felstiner, William L. F.; Gessner, Volkmar

First Page

302

Last Page

349

ISBN

9780787953010

Publisher

Hart

City or Country

Oxford

Additional URL

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/47117771

Comments

Edited by Richard P. Appelbaum, William L. F. Felstiner, and Volkmar Gessner

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