Guanxi is a Chinese indigenous concept that refers to the state or quality of a particularistic relationship between two individuals. It can exist between a supervisor and a subordinate, an entrepreneur and a government officer, a foreign manager and a local colleague, and so on. Because Chinese people are used to treating others differently according to their guanxi state, guanxi represents a critical lens for understanding social interactions in China.

The importance of guanxi in China is likely the result of insufficient bureaucracy, a term first introduced by Max Webber to refer to the extent to which a society relies on impersonal practices to achieve control. Throughout Chinese history, dynasties replaced one another, but all operated primarily on the basis of personal control instead of impersonal ...

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