The role of culture in business networking: A field study comparing immigrant Chinese and American start-ups
This is an exploratory field study, comparing business owners' networking process and styles between immigrant Chinese and mainstream American business owners. The networking process focuses on establishing and maintaining a set of interpersonal relationships, captures both individual expressions and the impact of collective forces, and sheds light on cultural influences. The data was based on four cases, two each of immigrant Chinese and American, in two industries, restaurant/food and fashion design. Lengthy interviews with the owners, brief interviews with network ties, observations, and documents comprised the core of the data. To understand a high context culture, such as Chinese, a researcher needs to immerse herself in the culture in order to better understand the culture. Having lived in the States for approximately two decades, I had to unlearn some Western education in order to re-connect with my Chinese past before moving forward with my study. From this experience, I learned valuable lessons to share with others. While cross-cultural differences are largely absent at the macro-structure of entrepreneurship, they emerge, though subtly, at the micro-process of networking. From the interaction of analysis and synthesis, I explain the cases using a meta-framework: from maverick to organizer. To be an entrepreneur is simultaneously to contain the roles of maverick and organizer, along with the naturally built-in tension moving from one dimension to the other. An owner's network of relationships serves as the conduit for the released tension, and helps balance between creating the vision (maverick) and organizing it into marketable products. Through these relationships we understand how strong ties and weak ties affect the business and personal developments for the owners. Finally, it is at the relational level that we begin to appreciate some cross-cultural differences, and approach understanding what is unique to Chinese ways.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Yang, Elena Ai-Yuan|
|Type of publication:||Other|
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