The role of guanxi networks in the performance of women-led firms in China

Jonathan Scott, Richard T. Harrison, Javed G. Hussain, Cindy Millman

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Abstract

Purpose This exploratory study examines how knowledge acquired via guanxi (networks and connections) is enabling women in China to overcome a number of significant barriers and challenges in order to start and grow successful businesses. Design/methodology/approach We undertook two in-depth interviews (case studies) to qualitatively investigate the use of guanxi as a means of overcoming various barriers faced by Chinese women in establishing and growing their businesses. Findings Our findings suggest that family background (and, in particular, support from parents and spouses), experience, training, education and finance are key success factors influencing the performance of women-led firms in China. The two cases we examine demonstrate the importance of mentors in helping to develop a woman’s business acumen and providing the right contacts to help overcome potential barriers to developing a successful business. Research limitations While this study provides a useful first step to better understanding the role of guanxi networks in supporting women led ventures in China, further research is needed to test the generalizability of our findings. Originality/value This study contributes to the limited prior research focussing on the important role of guanxi networks in assisting Chinese women to successfully launch and grow new ventures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
EventThe Joint Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) and DIANA International Conference 2012 - Queensland University of Technology, Freemantle, Australia
Duration: 31 Jan 20123 Feb 2012

Conference

ConferenceThe Joint Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) and DIANA International Conference 2012
CountryAustralia
CityFreemantle
Period31/01/123/02/12

Bibliographical note

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    Scott, J., Harrison, R. T., Hussain, J. G., & Millman, C. (2012). The role of guanxi networks in the performance of women-led firms in China. Paper presented at The Joint Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) and DIANA International Conference 2012, Freemantle, Australia.