HCBE Faculty Presentations

A Guanxi Perspective on Buyer-Supplier Relationships in China and Brazil

Event Location / Date(s)

Shanghai, China

Event Name / Location

12th Annual China Goes Global Conference, Chinese Globalization Association

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Purpose: This study examines the commitment-building process between buyers and suppliers from a guanxi quality perspective in two BRIC countries (China and Brazil). It explores the influence of mutual self-disclosure, supplier performance, socialization and conflict resolution in improving the levels of friendship, reciprocity and trust in the relationship and the buyer’s allegiance and loyalty to the supplier.

Design: The conceptual model is tested on data from a survey of 100 Chinese and 110 Brazilian buyers. Structural equation modeling is used to test the relationships in the model.

Findings: Results suggest that the quality of guanxi drives affective commitment more in Brazil than in China. This is attributed to the nuclear characteristic of particularized trust and high degree of uncertainty in Brazil. Conflict resolution drives affective commitment more in China. This is attributed to the emphasis in harmony and face-saving in China. Mutual self-disclosure and conflict resolution are found to positively influence guanxi quality in both countries alike. Socialization influences guanxi quality more in Brazil while supplier performance influences guanxi quality more in China.

Research and Practical Implications: The conceptual model demonstrates a level of commonalities in the two countries. Researchers are encouraged to test the quality of buyer-supplier relationships in other emerging countries from a guanxi perspective. Practitioners are given greater insight into how common or different committed business relationships are formed in emerging markets