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

Jonathan Scott, Richard Harrison, Javed Hussain, Cindy Millman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)
    17 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – This exploratory study aims to examine 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 – The authors undertook two in-depth interviews 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 – The 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 experiences of the two entrepreneurs in the study 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/implications – 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 the findings. Originality/value – This study contributes to the limited prior research focusing on the important role of guanxi networks in assisting Chinese women to successfully launch and grow new ventures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)68-82
    JournalInternational Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2014


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