Methodology meets culture: Relational and Guanxi-oriented research in China

Anton Kriz, Evert Gummesson, Ali QUAZI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Guanxi has been well documented for its critical business role in China but rarely has it been investigated for its important methodological implications. This article focuses on the ways in which researchers can utilise the sociocultural phenomenon of relational and guanxi-orientation as a tool for more effective Chinese-related data collection. This article arose as an unanticipated methodological outcome of a preceding qualitative study of Chinese perceptions of interpersonal trust. The article has empirical foundations but is largely conceptual in nature. One of the key aspects presented in the article is the construction and illustration of a researcher-developed guanxishu or tree of connections. Such insights are likely to prove invaluable to novice investigators interested in management research in Mainland China and overseas Chinese markets. Experienced researchers understand the importance in Chinese markets of accessing and utilising connections in the process of data collection. However, seldom has this process been discussed or comprehensively documented. The article identifies some of the important intricacies around using guanxi in management research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-46
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


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