Reciprocal norms moderate the influence of guanxi on feelings and behavior of closeness

Na Chen1, Pei-Luen Patrick Rau1
1Department of Industrial Engineering, Tsinghua University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Chen, N., & Rau, P.-L. P. (2016). Reciprocal norms moderate the influence of guanxi on feelings and behavior of closeness. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(7), 1099-1114.

Volume 44 Issue 7 | e5182 | Published: August 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.7.1099

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Guanxi is a trait of Chinese culture that reveals and underlies the cognition of Chinese individuals regarding their interpersonal connections. We designed an experiment with 36 participants to develop guanxi under laboratory conditions within a short time period. Reciprocal norms moderated the predictive effects of guanxi on feeling closeness. We verified that both behaving generously and guanxi predict feeling closeness and closeness behavior. On a practical level, we found that behaving generously enhanced feeling closeness and closeness behavior in general; behaving fairly provided equivalent outcomes when participants interacted with others with whom they had indirect ties; behaving selfishly enhanced feelings of closeness with strangers. Theoretical, experimental, and practical contributions are discussed.

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