Corporate Social Capital in Chinese Guanxi Culture

Yanjie Bian, University of Minnesota - Department of Sociology
We present a conceptualization of corporate social capital within the context of Chinese guanxi culture. Sociologists have defined corporate social capital as “processes of forming and mobilizing social actors’ network connections within and between organizations to gain other actors’ resources” (Knoke 1999: 5; Brass 1999). The point of departure for our conceptualization is that the formation and mobilizations of corporate social capital are culturally and institutionally contextualized. Building upon a relational approach to corporate performance, we examine culturally contextualized properties of Chinese guanxi networks and compare guanxi social capital with non-guanxi social capital. We then explain why guanxi-based corporate social capital is of growing significance to Chinese transition economy in an era of increasing market competition and institutional uncertainty. We conclude this essay by proposing a research agenda about the roles that guanxi-based corporate social capital plays in corporate performance in the Chinese context.
April, 3 2012 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM | 329 Soc/Psych Building (McKinney Room)

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