Acknowledgments: The authors acknowledge grants from the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong SAR (CityU 152110 & 196513), City University of Hong Kong (9680022, 7008139, & 7002905) and National Science Foundation of China (71172215).
The Role of the Guanxi Institution in Skill Acquisition Between Firms: A Study of Chinese Firms
Article first published online: 7 AUG 2014
© 2014 Institute for Supply Management, Inc.
Journal of Supply Chain Management
Volume 50, Issue 4, pages 3–23, October 2014
How to Cite
Cai, S. and Yang, Z. (2014), The Role of the Guanxi Institution in Skill Acquisition Between Firms: A Study of Chinese Firms. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 50: 3–23. doi: 10.1111/jscm.12035
- Issue published online: 12 SEP 2014
- Article first published online: 7 AUG 2014
- Accepted manuscript online: 5 DEC 2013 01:32PM EST
- Research Grant Council of Hong Kong SAR. Grant Numbers: CityU 152110, 196513
- City University of Hong Kong. Grant Numbers: 9680022, 7008139, 7002905
- National Science Foundation of China. Grant Number: 71172215
- relational ties;
- acquisition of skills;
- information sharing;
- guanxi institution;
- institutional theory;
- social network theory
The prevalence of personal connections in China, or guanxi, constitutes an institution that governs how people exchange favors. This study explores the effects of the guanxi institution on interfirm relational ties, information sharing, and the acquisition of skills across firms. According to social network theory, the marginal benefit of interfirm relational ties on information sharing should decrease with the strength of ties; according to information overload theory, information sharing should have an inverted U-shaped effect on the acquisition of skills. Institutional theory further suggests that the links across these three constructs are subject to the influence of the guanxi institution. With data collected from 338 manufacturing companies, this study shows that the links differ across environments that have strong versus weak guanxi institutions. A strong guanxi institution generally promotes information sharing and skill acquisition, but it also has a dark side.