Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Relational ties or customized contracts? An examination of alternative governance choices in China


Author Info

  • Kevin Zheng Zhou

    (School of Business, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong)

  • Laura Poppo

    (School of Business, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA)

  • Zhilin Yang

    (Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)


As business transactions become more complex in China – an increasingly market-driven economy – are managers more likely to employ relational ties or contracts? Consistent with the view that personal institutions govern transactions in China, our analysis of 361 buyer–supplier exchanges indicates that managers rely more on relational ties as asset specificity and uncertainty increase. We also find some support that impersonal institutions govern market transactions: as uncertainty increases, managers craft more customized contracts. Surprisingly, there is no association between contracts and asset specificity. These results hold for both local and foreign firms. Journal of International Business Studies (2008) 39, 526–534. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400363

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
File Function: Link to full text PDF
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

File URL:
File Function: Link to full text HTML
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Journal of International Business Studies.

Volume (Year): 39 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 526-534

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:526-534

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Order Information:
Postal: Palgrave Macmillan Journals, Subscription Department, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, UK

Related research



No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Han, Jiqin & Trienekens, Jacques H. & (Onno) Omta, S.W.F., 2011. "Relationship and quality management in the Chinese pork supply chain," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 312-321, December.
  2. Kiran Ismail & David Ford & Qingsheng Wu & Mike Peng, 2013. "Managerial ties, strategic initiatives, and firm performance in Central Asia and the Caucasus," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 433-446, June.
  3. Ju, Min & Murray, Janet Y. & Kotabe, Masaaki & Gao, Gerald Yong, 2011. "Reducing distributor opportunism in the export market: Effects of monitoring mechanisms, norm-based information exchange, and market orientation," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 487-496, October.
  4. Jia, Flora Fang & Wang, Jeff Jianfeng, 2013. "Marketing channel relationships in China: A review and integration with an institution-based perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(12), pages 2545-2551.
  5. Berulava, George, 2013. "Do Trust-Based Relations Improve Firm’s Performance? Evidence from Transition Economies," MPRA Paper 48430, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Yeung, Kwong & Lee, Peter K.C. & Yeung, Andy C.L. & Cheng, T.C.E., 2013. "Supplier partnership and cost performance: The moderating roles of specific investments and environmental uncertainty," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 546-559.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:526-534. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elizabeth Gale).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.