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Materializing Guanxi: Exploring the Communicative Practice of Liao Tian in Chinese Business Settings

Abstract : In recent years, more and more scholars have started to investigate guanxi (personal connections) as a socio-cultural construct by examining its types (Zhang & Zhang, 2006), consequences (Chen & Chen, 2009), and development processes (Chen & Chen, 2004) in Chinese business organizations. The current study aims to advance research on guanxi by proposing a communicative perspective. Particularly, we see the concept of liao tian (informal discussion) as an important communicative practice that materializes guanxi in Chinese business settings. We argue that liao tian is a unique communicative activity during which conversation takes place together with extra-linguistic performances, such as chi fan (having dinner), and through which people construct and maintain guanxi. In turn, we analyze ethnographic data collected from managers of two small enterprises in China to offer initial support for our view of liao tian, and suggest directions for future research on guanxi as a form of business organizing.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 8:16:38 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 9:19:44 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 17, 2010 - 12:19:40 PM


  • HAL Id : sic_00489106, version 1


Mylene Hardy, Jian Guowei. Materializing Guanxi: Exploring the Communicative Practice of Liao Tian in Chinese Business Settings. 2010 International Communication Association Conference : "Matters of Communication", Singapore, 22-26 June, panel : "The Materialization of Immateriality in the Constitution of Organizations in Asia: Perspectives on Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian Organizations", Jun 2010, United States. Chapt. 9, pp.167-195. ⟨sic_00489106⟩



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