Gift type, guanxi, and gift acceptability in Chinese business circles : The mediating effects of perceived manipulation and face threat

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Journal / PublicationIndustrial Marketing Management
Online published6 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


Although gift giving, a catalyst of guanxi, plays an important role in doing business in China, few studies have examined how to give a proper gift within business-to-business guanxi. Drawing on guanxi and gift-giving literature, this study investigates gift acceptability in the light of gift type and guanxi in two dimensions (relational closeness and relative status) in a hierarchical Chinese business circle. We classify gifts into monetary and nonmonetary gifts. The findings from two scenario-based experiments indicate that a monetary gift versus a nonmonetary gift decreases gift acceptability through the increased level of perceived manipulation (PM) and face threat (FT) and these indirect effects are contingent on different guanxi types. The mediating roles of both PM and FT turn more significant when relational closeness (gift recipient's status relative to giver) increases. These findings help Western businesspeople select the right gift form to give to the right Chinese counterparts in the right way.

Research Area(s)

  • Face threat, Gift acceptability, Guanxi, Monetary gift, Perceived manipulation

Citation Format(s)