Power, conflict, and cooperation: The impact of guanxi in Chinese marketing channels

Guijun Zhuang, Youmin Xi, Alex S.L. Tsang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)


This paper tests the impact of guanxi on behaviors among firms in a Chinese marketing channel. Guanxi is operationalized in this paper as emotional closeness and interactive state. We find that the emotional closeness between channel-boundary personnel of firms has a positive impact on their exercise of noncoercive power, a negative impact on their exercise of coercive power, and a negative impact on the perceived conflict between them. In addition, emotional closeness has an indirect but positive impact on perceived cooperation. Interactive state between the boundary personnel of two firms has a positive impact on a firm exercising noncoercive power and a negative impact on perceived conflict between them. At the same time, it is positively related to a firm exercising coercive power. This shows not only the significant influence of guanxi on a firm's channel behaviors but also the constructive effects of both emotional closeness and interactive state on marketing channel behaviors in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Conflict
  • Cooperation
  • Exercise of power
  • Guanxi
  • Marketing channel

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