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Guanxi and Knowledge Transfer in the Chinese Auto Industry

Grant Winners

  • Baiyun Gong, Ph.D.
  • Yunshan Lian


  • Randolph Pohlman, Ph.D.


Award Winners

Guanxi is the Chinese term of social relationship. Previous literature maintains that interorganizational guanxi is virtually personal guanxi across organizational boundaries. This ignores the involvement of organization members other than the key guanxi persons in the dynamics of guanxi between organizations. This project investigates the embeddedness of interorganizational guanxi (i.e., the extent to which employees at various levels in the organization are involved in the interorganizational guanxi) and examines its impacts on knowledge transfer between organizations. Specifically, we hypothesize that embeddedness of interorganizational guanxi facilitates knowledge transfer, and trust mediates this effect.

A survey instrument will be used to collect data from organizations in the Chinese auto industry. Respondents will be asked to provide information on the supplier-buyer relationship. Hypothesis will be tested with the data using various statistical tools, including descriptive analysis, factorial analysis, and multiple regression model. Statistical software SPSS will be employed to perform the hypothesis testing.

The finding of this project will have a significant impact on both academic research and real-world business practice. Academically, this research will further the knowledge on the nature of interorganizational guanxi and its effect on the organization's capacity of knowledge transfer. For practitioners, the study results will provide evidence that support corresponding guanxi management practices toward organizational competitiveness.

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