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Developing Guanxi Relations

Advances in Business Marketing & Purchasing

ISBN: 978-1-78190-858-7

Publication date: 16 August 2014


Three types of industrial buyer-seller relational process models are available: joining theory, stage theory, and state theory. However, historically, these models have developed based on the knowledge and cultural context of the Western world. Several researchers note that national culture may have an impact on international industrial buyer-seller relationships. Including culture in the models is highly important, especially as the business environment is increasingly more global and different countries have different business cultures. The goal of this paper is to define the most suitable industrial buyer-seller relational process models for describing relationships in various contexts. The paper includes a through literature review and a single case study in order to reach this objective. A new state theory model evolved during the research. It consists of two beginning states: searching and starting; four purely middles states: constant/static, decline, growth, and troubled; and a purely end state: termination. The state of dormant/inert is both a middle state and an end state, that is, when the relational actors are not in contact does not mean that the relationship has ended, but instead, for example, new legislation may have been implemented, which requires the actors to evaluate their relationship and its future. A relationship goes through the two beginning states in the order mentioned above, but after that, any state may occur.




The study builds from Kaunonen’s (2010) doctoral dissertation. The author expresses appreciation for her doctoral dissertation supervisor Olavi Uusitalo for all his efforts during the research process. The author thanks the Department of Industrial Management at the Tampere University of Technology, the Doctoral Program in Industrial Engineering and Management, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Foundation for Economic Education for funding her research.


Kaunonen, A. (2014), "Developing Guanxi Relations", Advances in Business Marketing & Purchasing (Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 51-91.



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