The guanxi ties of managers in mainland China : a critical analysis based on gender
Aaltio, I., & Huang, J. (2018). The guanxi ties of managers in mainland China : a critical analysis based on gender. Gender in Management : An International Journal, 33(7), 577-599. https://doi.org/10.1108/gm-01-2018-0006
Published inGender in Management : An International Journal
DisciplineBasic or discovery scholarshipJohtaminenBasic or discovery scholarshipManagement and Leadership
© Emerald Publishing Limited 2018
Inadequate social networks are often seen as an explanation of the under representation of women in management. Networks contain culture-specific features, as in China where the term guanxi is used, defined as a shared common identification held by two or more individuals (Jacobs, 1979). In several studies guanxi has been found to relate positively to success at work both for the individual and the organization, but little is known about it from gender and career perspectives. Referring especially to the earlier studies by Chow and Ng (2004), this paper addresses the meaning of guanxi networks for top women IT managers in mainland China. Using a questionnaire and in-depth interviews we gathered data on the guanxi networks of women IT managers in mainland China. We used interpretive analysis and found that: (1) there is a significant effect of female-to-male dyads concerning power and work-related guanxi bases, such as influence, (2) there is a significant effect of female-to-female dyads concerning questions of private life and crisis, and 3) women IT managers have a relatively limited guanxi base. Our findings support Ibarra’s (1993) suggestion that a common strategy for women is to use and develop a functionally differentiated network. Based on findings we further suggest that in building a successful managerial career, women managers in China need to reflect their gender, be gender-sensitive in building up their networks, and stay incorporated at the core networks in the organization whatever gender they represent. We also suggest that because networks are dependent on culturally bound definitions (like guanxi), even the guanxi practices may vary locally in different parts of China. ...
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