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

Author

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  • 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)

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Zheng Zhou & Laura Poppo & Zhilin Yang, 2008. "Relational ties or customized contracts? An examination of alternative governance choices in China," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 39(3), pages 526-534, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:526-534
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Huo, Baofeng & Fu, Dijia & Zhao, Xiande & Zhu, Jingwen, 2016. "Curbing opportunism in logistics outsourcing relationships: The role of relational norms and contract," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 293-303.
    2. Kostka, Genia & Shin, Kyoung, 2013. "Energy conservation through energy service companies: Empirical analysis from China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 748-759.
    3. 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.
    4. Yi-Ju Lo & Tung Hung, 2015. "Structure offshoring and returns on offshoring," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 443-479, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Ganesh Prasad Neupane, 2017. "Heuristics as an Aid to Inter-organizational Value Creation," International Review of Management and Marketing, Econjournals, vol. 7(1), pages 238-244.
    7. 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.
    8. En Xie & Yuanyuan Huang & Hao Shen & Yu Li, 2017. "Performance implications of ties to large-scale state-owned enterprises and banks in an emerging economy," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 97-121, March.
    9. Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph & Debrah, Yaw & Nuertey, Dorcas, 2018. "Institutional Legitimacy, Cross-Border Trade and Institutional Voids: Insights from the Cocoa Industry in Ghana," MPRA Paper 84393, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Sean M. Handley & Corey M. Angst, 2015. "The impact of culture on the relationship between governance and opportunism in outsourcing relationships," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(9), pages 1412-1434, September.
    11. M. Balaji, 2015. "Investing in customer loyalty: the moderating role of relational characteristics," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 9(1), pages 17-40, March.
    12. Berulava, George, 2013. "Do Trust-Based Relations Improve Firm’s Performance? Evidence from Transition Economies," MPRA Paper 48430, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Brian C Pinkham & Mike W Peng, 2017. "Overcoming institutional voids via arbitration," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(3), pages 344-359, April.
    14. Stephanie Eckerd & Kenneth K. Boyer & Yinan Qi & Adam Eckerd & James A. Hill, 2016. "Supply Chain Psychological Contract Breach: An Experimental Study across National Cultures," Journal of Supply Chain Management, Institute for Supply Management, vol. 52(3), pages 68-82, July.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Svetlana Avdasheva & Nadezhda Goreyko, 2010. "Governance Structures in Russian manufacturing: assessment using sample survey data," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 112, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    18. O’Connor, Neale G. & Vera-Muñoz, Sandra C. & Chan, Francis, 2011. "Competitive forces and the importance of management control systems in emerging-economy firms: The moderating effect of international market orientation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 246-266.
    19. Antonios Karatzas & Mark Johnson & Marko Bastl, 2016. "Relationship Determinants of Performance in Service Triads: A Configurational Approach," Journal of Supply Chain Management, Institute for Supply Management, vol. 52(3), pages 28-47, July.
    20. repec:bla:jscmgt:v:53:y:2017:i:3:p:19-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Boris Bauke & Thorsten Semrau & Zheng Han, 2016. "Relational trust and new ventures’ performance: the moderating impact of national-level institutional weakness," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 1007-1024, December.
    22. Huo, Baofeng & Ye, Yuxiao & Zhao, Xiande, 2015. "The impacts of trust and contracts on opportunism in the 3PL industry: The moderating role of demand uncertainty," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 170(PA), pages 160-170.
    23. Ying-Pin Yeh, 2015. "Exploring the effect of relational governance on retailer-perceived performance," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 1-22, June.
    24. Hemmert, Martin & Kim, DaeSoo & Kim, Jisun & Cho, BooYun, 2016. "Building the supplier's trust: Role of institutional forces and buyer firm practices," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 25-37.

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