Guanxi ( Chinese 關係 / 关系 , Pinyin : guānxi) refers to the network of personal relationships in China, the effects of which hardly affect a decision there. In many cases, contracts and agreements are only seen as a guideline, which can be deviated from in case of doubt. Guanxi is a complex word. In the dictionary it is translated as 'connection', 'relationship'. The term includes a reciprocity that is often associated with obligations.
Essence of guanxi
Guanxi relationships are not based on connections between groups of people or institutions, but always on relationships between individuals. If you have good relationships with another person, you can establish contact with other people from their relationship. Normally, a mediator is however only make people to know each other, he trusts because he with his face stands for. The relationship of trust then has to be built up over the long term, but it starts at a higher level.
The network of relationships is hardly noticeably used among the Chinese for foreigners. Relationships can result from two people living in the same village or studying at the same university. Guanxi are usually in a reciprocal relationship. Anyone who asks a favor must at some point also provide something in return. Time plays an important role in this. They also need constant care.
Mutual favors ( renqing ) are the most important factor in maintaining the guanxi net. Failure to do something in return is considered an unforgivable insult. The more you ask of someone, the more you owe them. Guanxi can be thought of as an endless cycle of favors.
The Chinese classify very carefully according to relatives, friends or strangers in order to be able to assess the degree of mutual trust and mutual help.
“Taking advantage of relationships is a science in itself, you have to take time and circumstances into account and dose the fire properly. As with a credit: at some point it is used up, you have to hold back a little so that it is replenished at the crucial moment, and of course you have to add something every now and then. "
The attitude inherent in Confucianism that it is better to avoid or mediate an argument rather than B. to be carried out in court is the reason for the importance of guanxi. Good personal relationships are therefore more important than laws and contracts, which in any case are difficult to enforce in view of the rudimentary and socially poorly accepted legal institutions. It is assumed that guanxi will become less important as the rule of law is consolidated .
Similar phenomena have emerged in collectivist cultures in particular. In the Arab world there are the terms Wāsṭa , Kitāf , in Turkey arka and destek , in Nigeria Big man and in Eastern Europe Blat (блат).
- Wolfgang Sellert: Law - Idea - History: Contributions to the history of law and ideas for Rolf Lieberwirth on the occasion of his 80th birthday . Ed .: Bernd Schildt. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-412-10700-X , Chapter Economy, Politics and Law in China: Impressions, Experiences, Forecasts, p. 707 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
- Guanxi and Guanxixue: The Advantage of Personal Connections in Modern China
- Essential guanxi
- Luo, Yadong, Ying Huang, Stephanie Lu Wang: Guanxi and Organizational Performance: A Meta-Analysis. In: Management and Organization Review 8.1 (2011): 139-72.
- China Characteristics: Regarding Guanxi
- Pierre Ostrowski, Gwen Penner: It's all Chinese to Me: an overview of culture & etiquette in China . Tuttle, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8048-4079-8 , pp. 48-49.