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More or less guanxi : Trust is 60% network context, 10% individual difference

Burt, Ronald S.; Bian, Yanjie and Opper, Sonja LU (2018) In Social Networks 54. p.12-25
Abstract
The strong ties known in China as guanxi can be distinguished by a high level of trust relatively independent of the surrounding social structure. Using network data from a stratified probability sample of 700 entrepreneurs citing 4664 contacts, we study guanxi relative to other relations to learn how much individual differences such as well-being, business differences, political participation and demographic factors matter for the guanxi distinction. Two findings stand out: First, the connection between trust and social network is robust to most differences between individuals, especially business and political differences. Trust variance is 60% network context, and 10% individual differences. Trust increases within a relationship as... (More)
The strong ties known in China as guanxi can be distinguished by a high level of trust relatively independent of the surrounding social structure. Using network data from a stratified probability sample of 700 entrepreneurs citing 4664 contacts, we study guanxi relative to other relations to learn how much individual differences such as well-being, business differences, political participation and demographic factors matter for the guanxi distinction. Two findings stand out: First, the connection between trust and social network is robust to most differences between individuals, especially business and political differences. Trust variance is 60% network context, and 10% individual differences. Trust increases within a relationship as network closure increases around the relationship, but some relationships mature into guanxi ties within which trust is high and relatively independent of the surrounding social structure. Second, when individual differences matter, they concern social isolation. Guanxi ties are more distinct in the networks around entrepreneurs with small, marginal families, and around those with small, closed networks. Both categories of entrepreneurs are likely to experience difficulties with respect to resource access and doing business with people beyond their network, which may explain why longstanding guanxi ties linked to important events are particularly distinct for these entrepreneurs. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
trust, guanxi, network closure, entrepreneurs, social isolation
in
Social Networks
volume
54
pages
14 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85040771292
ISSN
0378-8733
DOI
10.1016/j.socnet.2017.12.001
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bc9b3980-dfd3-4c82-a503-9cf03780de62
date added to LUP
2017-12-16 23:27:51
date last changed
2018-05-29 11:18:51
@article{bc9b3980-dfd3-4c82-a503-9cf03780de62,
  abstract     = {The strong ties known in China as guanxi can be distinguished by a high level of trust relatively independent of the surrounding social structure. Using network data from a stratified probability sample of 700 entrepreneurs citing 4664 contacts, we study guanxi relative to other relations to learn how much individual differences such as well-being, business differences, political participation and demographic factors matter for the guanxi distinction. Two findings stand out: First, the connection between trust and social network is robust to most differences between individuals, especially business and political differences. Trust variance is 60% network context, and 10% individual differences. Trust increases within a relationship as network closure increases around the relationship, but some relationships mature into guanxi ties within which trust is high and relatively independent of the surrounding social structure. Second, when individual differences matter, they concern social isolation. Guanxi ties are more distinct in the networks around entrepreneurs with small, marginal families, and around those with small, closed networks. Both categories of entrepreneurs are likely to experience difficulties with respect to resource access and doing business with people beyond their network, which may explain why longstanding guanxi ties linked to important events are particularly distinct for these entrepreneurs.},
  author       = {Burt, Ronald S. and Bian, Yanjie and Opper, Sonja},
  issn         = {0378-8733},
  keyword      = {trust,guanxi,network closure,entrepreneurs,social isolation},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {12--25},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Social Networks},
  title        = {More or less guanxi : Trust is 60% network context, 10% individual difference},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2017.12.001},
  volume       = {54},
  year         = {2018},
}