Why Guanxi and Mianzi Play an Important Role in Chinese Business Culture Diana Yuan Zhang
University of Houston-Victoria
The paper discussed why guanxi and mianzi are the main factors that directly affect the business and politic side of China, and this is molded culturally for the past five thousand years. And how is this cultural influence becoming stronger than ever before. By contrasting and analyzing guanxi and mianzi, this research paper is intended to point out the differences between values of China and U.S.A, and also the culture of China to have a better understanding why guanxi and mianzi is such a big deal. And end the research paper by how to build and maintain guanxi.
Why Guanxi and Mianzi Play an Important Role in Chinese Business Culture The relationship between people is the most complicated thing in the world, the relationship between the Chinese are more subtle. Chinese people believes that “在家靠父母，出外靠朋友” saying that at home one relies on one's parents and outside on one's friends. One thing that is really famous and special in China is how “relationship” works different from other countries and for foreigners to understand China’s culture and custom better; this is a necessary topic to cover. In order to facilitate the study of Chinese type of “relationship”, foreigners even create the world “guanxi”. Wikipedia describes guanxi as “the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, and is a central idea in Chinese society. In Western media, the pinyin romanization of this Chinese word is becoming more widely used instead of the two common translations—"connections" and "relationships"—as neither of those terms sufficiently reflects the wide cultural implications that guanxi describes.” In the west, people commonly handle their business first and if the business is successful, a relationship will be built. However, in China people believe that prospective business partners should build a relationship first and if it is successful, business transactions will be followed. Every transaction make in China mostly start with a good relationship with your business partners and the logical development of close relationships is the Chinese concept of guanxi. Vanhonacker’s (2004) comment, “In the West, relationships grow out of deals. . . .In China, deals grow out of relationships,” Guanxi stands for any type of relationship. In the Chinese business world it is also understood as the network of relationships among various parties that cooperate together and support one another. Guanxi plays a very important role in Chinese’s life, because it directly affects the business and politic side of China, and this is molded culturally for the past five thousand years. “China, the great family of nationalities with minor estrangement among, in particular, is a society built based upon Confucianism where people are tied closely into varieties of guanxi, with which the social networks bind millions of Chinese firms into social and business webs, largely dictating their success.” (Wong 2007) Successful people understand this fact. Guanxi is a very important resource and capital, and many successful business people are deeply aware that having the right guanxi is the importance of their own success. They know that human do not live on the planet alone, and every human being has their own advantages and limitations. This is the reason why they know how to share ideas, mutual assistance, and the importance of mutual guidance, so they carefully cultivate relationships with each other. So when one faces difficulties and challenges, one will not be alone, and one will have strength and conviction. A successful person always has their own network of relationship; they work very carefully to operate their Guanxi. Many people has misunderstanding of the word “Guanxi” is just to ask people for help when you needed, just as some people think that communicative behavior occurs when you need something. When it comes...
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