How To Write A Good Essay Essay Example For College

            The diversity of the term essay almost makes it sound like writing one is as easy as initiating conversations with total strangers.  Of course there is no universal technique that instantly turns beginners to award-winning writers, but there are certain plausible techniques that can serve as guidelines for aspiring and starting writers.

            The first point to consider in writing an essay is to determine the topic to be written.  Is it about a person, a place, a particular cuisine, and so on?  This gives the writer liberty to choose topics of personal interest that can pose as an advantage to his or her part. There are certain cases wherein the topic to be discussed and written is assigned, it is then important to determine whether such topic is a simple overview or a detailed analysis of a particular subject matter.  If the topic is broad, the writer may choose to focus on a sub-topic or several sub-topics in order to produce a clear and concise essay.

Brainstorming is an integral part of efficient essay writing as it may help the writer in evaluating the subjects to be discussed in the essay.  Regardless of the purpose of the essay, the writer may consider numerous topics.  In case the writer finds difficulty in selecting a suitable topic, he or she may consider recalling a personal experience, thinking about a favourite past-time, or looking for interesting objects within the vicinity.

After the topic has been determined, the writer should then move to defining the purpose of the essay.  The essay writer may consider several questions such as should the essay be informative, analytical, or persuasive?  Should the essay be directed to convincing people to adhere to the writers beliefs?   Should the essay educate readers about an individual or subject, or demonstrate how to perform certain procedures?

If it is informative, the writer must give all the necessary information, and it is plausible to start with the basic information about the topic. If it is analytical, it is important to give both an overview as well as the positive and negative sides of the subject being analyzed.  Also, the analysis should as much as possible be objective.

In writing an effective essay, it is practical to create an outline in order to give the writer a primary sense of direction for the essay.  An outline may consist of the general idea to be discussed, followed by the points that support the main idea.  Depending on the purpose of the essay, the content of the outline may vary.  The outline for a persuasive essay for instance may contain the writer’s strongest arguments, while informative essay outlines may contain the categories and sub-categories of the topic.

As soon as the topic has been determined and evaluated, the writer should now think about writing the essay itself.  An essay begins with the introductory part that contains the thesis statement.  The thesis statement enables the writer to set an identity for the essay in such a way that the reader or readers will have a general idea of what the essay would be about (Teitelbaum, 2003, 23).

Choice of words are important in writing the introduction, this is because the introduction captures the reader’s attraction while giving notions of what the essay’s focus ought to be.  Sentences with striking thought or sagely quotations and traditional sayings are effective weapons in grabbing the reader’s attention.  The writer also must include true and verifiable information in order to rouse interest to readers.  In any event, the introduction must contain ideas that does not bore or alienate readers so as the essay would not cause be distasteful or disinteresting to them.

Writing the body of the essay is crucial because all the preparations made will bear fruit in it.  The Body usually begins with the discussion of the topic’s main idea followed by its supporting points or sentences.  An effective way to write the body is to consult the essay outline so that the main points and sub-points can be written coherently.  A detailed explanation of the sub-points strengthens the thesis statement and the essay’s main arguments.  Furthermore, well detailed explanations of sub-topics clarify any vague arguments, should there be any.

Conclusion, as the term suggests, gives closure to the essay.  Conclusions basically contain the summary of the main points and sub-points discussed in the body.  In certain types of essays such as analytical or persuasive essays, the conclusion is suitable ground for the writer to give out the final perspective of the main topic.  Simply put, the conclusion restates the main points or concisely describes the writer’s perspectives regarding the topic.  In addition, it is also important to mind that the conclusion should not mention ideas not covered in the introduction and the body.

Prevention is better than cure, so as the saying goes, it is therefore harmless for the writer to check for any spelling errors or grammatical lapses within the essay.  The writer should also be mindful of the essay’s overall structure and determine whether the finished product is sensible or not.  In checking the final piece, it is also important to evaluate whether the transitions of paragraphs go without errors.  Lastly the writer should also check if the instructions or the outline are followed obediently.

Essay writing may have numerous points to consider before having it effectively done. Although it is dependent of how the writer spills out the ideas, essay writing can still be done formally given proper sensible guidelines.  At any rate, the only effort the writer may exert is writing down the ideas for the essay.

References

Teitelbaum, H. (2003). How to Write a Thesis. New Jersey: Peterson’s.

How US Companies Utilize Guanxi In China

ABSTRACT

If language is at the center of the Chinese culture, then social relationships are at the core of Chinese society. Nearly all the social interactions in Chinese societies can be understood in terms of guanxi. Most of the studies of guanxi or Chinese business networks have either explicitly or implicitly established that such connections are extremely important in business affairs. It is seen that if there is guanxi between two businessmen, each seems willing to grant more favorable terms to the other in business affairs so that deals are more easily struck between them. Guanxi requires deep commitment and a long-term investment of time and energy, and like all social relationships has the potential to reap considerable returns. Nearly every aspect of Chinese business interactions is affected by guanxi. The concept is alien to US companies, who go mostly by legal right and wrongs and contractual obligations, and do not really go overboard to cultivate personal relationships. This paper studies the importance of guanxi and offers ways in which US companies can utilize guanxi in China.

1                    Introduction

Interpersonal relationship or Guanxi is one of the major dynamics of Chinese society. In fact the principle of Guanxi has been a pervasive part of the Chinese business world for the last few centuries. The concept binds literally millions of Chinese firms into a social and business web. Guanxi is hence recognized as a key business determinant of firm performance, and the lifeblood of both the macro-economy and micro-business conduct. Any business in the Chinese society inevitably faces guanxi dynamics. It is not an exaggeration to say that no company can go far unless it has extensive guanxi networks in this setting (Luo, 2007, p. 1).

“The Chinese world guanxi or关系, literally refers to the concept of drawing on connections in order to secure favors in personal relationships” (Luo, 2007, p. 2). That is to say guanxi means “interpersonal linkages with the implication of continued exchange of favors” (Luo, 2007, p. 2). It forms an intricate, pervasive relational network which the Chinese cultivate energetically, subtly, and imaginatively. It contains implicit mutual obligations, assurances, and understanding and governs Chinese attitudes towards long-terms social and business relationships. Guanxi is more than a friendship or simple interpersonal relationship, since it includes reciprocal obligations to respond to requests for assistance. Unlike inter-firm networking in the West, however, this reciprocity is implicit, without time specifications, not necessarily equivalent, and only socially binding. The basis for guanxi establishment can be defined as a “commonality of shared identification amongst two or more people”, and can be achieved through shared experience or is ascriptive i.e. based on kinship of some kind. However, the basis for guanxi does not imply that such an alliance with develop. The existence of a base only paves the way for an opportunity to establish guanxi. Guanxi is also dynamic and certain social bases for guanxi can be transferred. Many foreign companies use this tactic to initiate guanxi in China (Luo, 2001, p. 53-56).

Researches have found that guanxi is one of the critical factors for success in Chinese business environment and that there is a direct correlation between a corporation’s level of guanxi connections and its domestic sales growth in China. Since, guanxi is widely practiced, there is no doubt that any US firm, whether an operating business firm or an auditing forms, will directly under the exposure of guanxi. However, it has been found that guanxi is a factor that often puzzles foreign investors, particularly from the West. Hence, it is important to come up with frameworks for the strategic management of guanxi in Chinese context, covering the formulation and implementation of guanxi-based strategies and their evaluation. Guanxi is considered so important that some researchers maintain that one cannot get any success chiefly in the long terms without it. Virtually every major success story involving foreign companies in China involve the building on guanxiwang i.e. networks of relationships. Companies like IBM China and Shanghai Volkswagen devoted literally years to this process (Vinten, 2005, p. 230). This paper focuses on how US companies utilize Guanxi in China.

2                    Purpose of Study

.The purpose of the study is to evaluate how US companies utilize Guanxi in China. Since foreign companies do not have a local base, and are also extremely distant culture-wise, development and maintenance of social relationships is not often easy because of many barriers. These issues will remain the same for any firm in US deciding to enter the Chinese economy regardless of its operations. This paper evaluate how various companies use this concept to come up with a framework that could be used as a realistic reference guide for foreign firms deciding to operate their business in China.

3                    Literature Review

When US based firms enter China they encounter a world where personal relationships determine much of what is goes on, and where every individual has his or her own web of acquaintances and connections, and where each individual’s web is one among thousands of intertwining nets of relationships of varying degrees of intensity, many of which are invisible to the outside observer. Basic guanxi relationships are shown in Figure – 1 in APPENDIX.. Guanxi can be viewed from two perspectives as is shown in the Figure – 2 in APPENDIX. From one point of view, one stands outside the interlocking rings and must establish several connections to reach the center. Form another vantage point, one is already at the centre of one’s own guanxi network, and the interlocking rings surround him. Guanxi is not about gaining access to a network, but about cultivating and expanding and nourishing one’s own network (Chen¸ 2003, p. 50).

The concept of guanxi has been researched by several researchers. One of the major studies on guanxi was conducted by Mayfair Yang who used extensive interviews conducted over a decade to conclude that guanxi and guanxi practice are key to understanding all manner of social relations, including economic relations in China. She made the distinction between guanxi and guanxi practice – the former being social relationships that people develop through normal interactions, while the latter being the deliberate and strategic cultivation of social relations. The concept became extremely popular after the reform period, where people with commercial intents deliberately and strategically cultivated social ties for economic gains for the purpose of circumventing laws, policies, and regulations which did not suit them. The existence of an extremely strong and interfering government and bureaucracy has prompted most of the foreign companies to follow the suit, though the reason for cultivating guanxi is not so much to bypass laws as to make the process simpler and faster (Gold, Guthrie, Wank, 2002, p. 79, 80).

In 1988, Bruhnner and Koh studied a sample of American and Chinese negotiations. They noted the impact of guanxi in China after the implementation of the Chinese open-door policy in the year 1979. The underlying concept of guanxi found was the traditional Confucian concept of the group taking precedence over individual, and the term subtly defines the moral code. Brunner further found that the development of a guanxi web depends up on whether some attributes of a guanxi base exist among individuals, and extent of guanxi cultivation depends up on an individual’s position within a framework based on some social unit classification – may be family, work units and social network. Brunner et al. in a further research conducted in 1989 indicated that a major factor motivating the efforts to form guanxi as the prevalent shortages of everyday necessities, housing, and goods, so that the Chinese obtained guanxi ties to obtain them. Another reason was the primitive communication system and the infamous bureaucratic maze, which made guanxi literally as a currency to complete ordinary transactions. In addition to this guanxi has also been analyzed in several western marketing literatures as linking within a network. The network approach has four major perspectives: networks as relationships, structures, position, and process (Wong, Leung, 2001, p. 5-6).

In 1996 Yeung and Tung researched the critical factors that contribute to business success in China by asking managers of 19 diverse international companies to rank 11 key factors. They found that guanxi was the only item consistently chosen as a key success factors. Yeung and Tung’s research pointed towards the weight carried by guanxi on the long-term business success as compared with any other business variable. A further research in 1997 by Luo found that there was a direct correlation between a corporation’s level of guanxi connection and its domestic sales growth in China. Hwang and Baker in 2000 proposed that guanxi results in better cost efficiency in doing business as well as lower credit costs (Vinten, 2005, p. 230).

Based on an empirical analysis of the survey data collected between 1966 and 1997 containing 127 firms, Peng and Luo were able to deduce several results. The first result was that it proved that guanxi with other managers and government officials are both significantly correlated with sales growth. Overall, guanxi networks with government authorities have a stronger linkage with performance than ties with other businesses. The second result was that, while guanxi is positively related with sales growth, it is not the case with profit growth. The linkage with sales growth was evident even after a regression analysis of the data was carried out by controlling for ownership type, firm size, and industry effect. However, in case the firms had a guanxi with the government officials, the profits too were significantly affected, which was not the case with the guanxi with other managers in different firms. An important result that came out after the study was after performing the multivariate effect on the overall performance. The managers viewed product quality as being the most important factor followed by guanxi, terms of payment, delivery, pricing and at last advertising. All these six business determinants have significant impacts on the firm performance, which suggests that guanxi is important but not a sufficient condition for overall performance enhancement (Vinten, 2005, p. 231-234).

Luo’s study in 1997 conformed that different foreign businesses in China with different investment traits have different relationships between guanxi and performance. A reason for this is probably due to the difference in the way a firm utilizes guanxi. A firm enhances its performance by benefiting from the guanxi network it has established. In essence, this network constitutes a firm’s core competency and distinctive competitive advantage that can lead to high performance for the firm. The ultimate realization of guanxi potential depends up on the application and operation of several business variables in which guanxi is embedded. In strategic management literature several business strategy variables are observed to impact firm’s performance, most common of which are firm size, pricing, advertising, and R&D intensity. Among these variables however, the size of firms and R&D intensity are not related to guanxi, because they represent the firm’s economy of scale or differentiation and do not rely on contributions from other organizations or people outside the firm. Advertising and pricing too are similarly not tightly associated with guanxi, since the outcome of these tow variables is predominantly determined by the firm’s own strategies or policies (Luo¸2007, p. 190-193).

However, in case of doing business in China two other business variables are considered to be extremely important: sales force marketing and credit liberalizations, and these two factors rely heavily on guanxi. Sales force marketing usually relies on partnering forms and has become a popular and effective marketing means. Even though a particular sales person may not have a direct guanxi network, he or she can choose the members of indirect social network such as classmates, friends, and colleagues. In has been found that guanxi based personal selling can produce impressive marketing results event when the product’s attributes are not competitive. The credit-granting practice is to some extent a reflection of the culture. Sellers tend to do their utmost to avoid embarrassing customers who may be temporarily unable to pay. Maintaining extensive guanxi networks in case of buyers’ means that they have access to higher extension of commercial credit, while in case of sellers it means that they can expect to achieve higher performance in terms of domestic sales growth. To validate these issues, Luo et al. conducted a survey in Jiangsu province in 1995 consisting of a questionnaire where managers were asked to scale the above mentioned business variables based on their relationship with guanxi. The results were consistent with the proposition that sales force marketing and credit granting had the highest level of involvement with guanxi, whereas the other business variables had a fairly low level of involvement (Luo, 2001, p. 110-115).

China has world’s largest inflow of FDIs most of which are from US. The most common entry mode is the joint venture mode which is positively correlated with venture performance and significantly interacted with guanxi. The joint venture entry mode facilitates the positive role of guanxi in influencing the performance of a foreign based enterprise. The selection of an appropriate local partner is an essential way to adapt to the indigenous environment and achieve the benefits of the guanxi. Another important factor affecting the function of guanxi in the foreign based enterprise performance is the cultural proximity. Chinese commonwealth country of investment origin positively moderates the association between the guanxi and the performance of the foreign based enterprise. The length of operation not only significantly facilitates the relationship between guanxi and accounting-based and market-based performance measures, it also affect’s the foreign venture’s profitability directly. This proves that guanxi is developed and learned over a period of time and that guanxi is accumulative in nature. However, the role of guanxi in the foreign venture is not dependent on the asset size of the firm since it is dependent on the organization structure, which is essentially similar to what is being followed in the home country (Luo¸2007, p. 190-193).

4                    Present Study hypothesis

Corporate interaction takes place in a mixed system of market economy and guanxi exchange, and also to an extent through Chinese government authorities. The state economy can be excluded while considering the US based firms because US firms consider their importance to be less, which is expected to decrease in years to come. The market and guanxi system have not been properly integrated. Hence, guanxi becomes one of the two exchange systems within which foreign firms can perform business activities, choosing a pure market oriented business strategy is not optimal especially in case of a closely monitored economy like China. The consequence is that the foreign based companies would fail if they applied market based strategies only, a disturbing issue (Yeung¸ 2006, p. 111-113). Empirical evidence too corroborates that those strategies that insufficiently take guanxi into consideration have a higher rate of failure. Analyzing a survey taken in 1995 by the Economic Intelligence Unit, Wu in 1999 reported that 44% of the companies suffered losses from their overall operations in China. Moreover 36% of the ventures did not yield an operating profit. A similar survey by Hong Kong Bank of East Asia reported that 22 of the 53 companies surveyed were unprofitable (Langenberg¸ 2007, p. 9).

The importance of guanxi being established, the next stage is to see how guanxi can be utilized. While extremely experienced people can intuitively give answers to the various issues, the scenario is extremely complex. As not prescribed instructions exist, it is indispensable that repeated researches are conducted about the use of guanxi, both success and failure, by different companies. The express purpose of this research is to address this particular issue. Chiefly the research aims to provide exploratory empirical ideas and some evidence that guanxi is important while choosing partners and that origin country of FDI is important while establishing guanxi.

5                    Confirmation of hypothesis

The examination of effectiveness and efficiency of guanxi-based business strategy involves a large amount of theory. Analysis is particularly challenging for the researcher because it involves different methodological perspectives and different levels of aggregation (Yeung¸ 2006, p. 111-113).

5.1              Effect of partner

The choice of partner is likely to influence the degree of adaptability of foreign investment to local environment and business practices. As a result, the linkage between guanxi and foreign business performance can be affected by the mode of entry. Foreign investors can opt for either joint venture i.e. equity-based or contractual or wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries as an entry mode upon entering the Chinese market. Although the wholly foreign-owned subsidiary mode has been gaining popularity in recent years, the joint venture remains the dominant mode of entry and accounts for more than 50% of the total value of actual FDI in China. In light of this data, the selection of a local partner is of fundamental importance to foreign investor. Indeed, when a foreign firm enters a host country in which the cultural, political, and economic systems greatly differ from its own, it is more likely to cooperate with a local partner, which has already developed specific skills and advantages that are very costly, if not impossible, to duplicate by a foreign firm. The foreign investors who have local partners are more likely to have better access to powerful Chinese guanxi networks than any others. These joint venture advantages can be reflected in cheap and reliable material supplies, market access, preferential tax treatment, low land rent, priority in obtaining infrastructure services, and the provision of assistance from the authorities when problems arise. In light of these considerations, the relationship between guanxi and foreign-invested enterprise will be stronger if the partner chosen has excellent and relevant connections (Luo, 2007, p. 155-160).

Example – HP China Medical division is a joint venture of HP medical group and china National Corporation of Medical Equipment Industry. It was formed in 1997, and provides medical technology designed specifically to meet the needs of doctors, clinics and hospitals in China, and eventually in other emerging markets of the world. The creation of the division reinforces HP’s commitment to the Chinese market and will allow HP to locate design and marketing teams to meet the distinct needs to China’s medical professionals and provide the resources and independence necessary to fulfill the Chinese market. In addition to entering the market via a joint partner, HP has also established a very large and intricate guanxi network. HP is a significant contributor of China’s Sustainable Development Networking Program SDNP, by supplying a broad range of equipment, software and services designed to meet the need for a high-performance network infrastructure which is robust, scalable and easily managed. In addition to this HP’s analytical instrument division is also a part of a joint venture with China, with he actual design being done in the country, which proves the company’s commitment towards establishing a business. These are all a part of the HP’s donation towards Chinese development, which has had an extremely positive impact upon its sales infrastructure in China. The result has been satisfactory as HP is one of the top US companies with their biggest stakes in China (Chen¸2003, p. 232).

5.2              Effect of origin

FDI in China mainly originates from two sources: Chinese community investors and Western multinationals. Although more than 40 countries form all over the world have direct foreign investments in China, about half of the total FDI in the country has come from the Chinese community territory – Hong Kong & Macau, Taiwan, and Singapore. One primary factor contributing to this situation is the cultural proximity between these business people and their Chinese counterparts. The Chinese commonwealth area nurtures a network of entrepreneurial relationships and an array of political and economic systems that are bound together, not by geography, but by shred tradition. Guanxi-based business dealings are not foreign to investors from this area. Indeed, for many generations, emigrant Chinese entrepreneurs have been operating comfortably in a network of guanxi, laying the foundations for stronger links among businesses across national borders. As a result, an interconnected yet potentially open-system has arisen, which provides a new market mechanism for conducting global business. Through well- established guanxi networks within China, forein investors form Chinese commonwealth territories more readily gain access to and benefit more from inside information, scarce resources, and access to controlled industries as opposed to other foreign investors. Thus, the relationship between guanxi and foreign invested enterprise performance will be stronger than those for non-Chinese commonwealth origins (Luo, 2007, p. 161-163).

While there is no doubt that many western companies have developed their own guanxi in China, usually foreigners are often at a disadvantage in building and developing guanxi due to language and cultural barriers in comparison with local and ethnic Chinese. The liability of foreigners propels the costs of guanxi construction and difficulties of guanxi cultivation. Hence, hiring local people who possess both necessary skills and useful guanxi helps the companies to fulfill their requirements. Both western-educated Chinese and Chinese immigrants are hence a valuable asset to a company seeking to do business in Mainland China. It is even more helpful if such people have kept up their social and cultural relations in Asia. In fact many companies have entered the Chinese market through bicultural third parties – usually Asian-American employees or consulting companies. Researchers also suggest the western companies operating in china should conduct guanxi audits in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their various relationships and to cultivate or nurture important links with outside stakeholders such as customer suppliers and government bodies (Chen¸2003, p. 236-240).

6                    Managerial Implications

China is being increasingly regarded as one of the most likely countries to become the largest economy in the world, in the years to come. The country’s growth rate stands at an enviable rate for the past decade. This is largely due to the pragmatic economic reforms and its unabated opening to the outside world. In the course of economic development, both local and foreign, are re-engineering and restructuring the organization in an effort to pursue realistic strategies and accommodate firm’s strengths and weaknesses to environment where industry and market structures are being drastically transformed and government policies frequently change. The change has brought about the interest of more and more foreign companies, who are keen on taking the advantages the country offers for companies setting up their business. However, the culture of the west is completely different from the east, and China has just emerged from a period where the government tightly held all the privileges, in fact still does. This means that the rules are not always as clear as they should be or even what they appear to be. Hence, cultivating local ties is extremely important. The purpose of this paper is to present the importance of such ties, which are so important that they have a name attached to them – guanxi.

Guanxi based business variables have a profound and favorable impact on the accounting and marketing performance of the Chinese firms. In other words, high performance is a positive function of good guanxi. The Chinese build the relationship and, if successful, transactions and profits will follow whereas Westerners believe that one should build transactions and if they are successful, a relationship will follow. As an example MacDonald’s was evicted from a central Beijing building after 2 years, despite having a 20 year contract, simply because the newcomer from Hong Kong had strong guanxi with the Chinese government, whereas McDonald’s has disregarded to maintain its own. This difference underlines many of the failures of foreign venture formation and operation in China (Langenberg¸ 2007, p. 9). This fact is pointed out by some of the statistics that were mentioned earlier in the paper.

As is mentioned earlier Guanxi is a necessary but not sufficient condition for form success. Despite the conventional wisdom suggesting almost unlimited benefit from guanxi, managerial tied alone do not account for all performance variations. This suggests that, while managerial ties are important a firm also needs to have quality products and services in connection with appropriate payment terms, efficient delivery, and the right pricing strategy, in order to perform well in China’s emerging economy. US companies do not really have to worry about these aspects, as most of them have quality of money, as an ingrained principle. The services too are efficient, which has been responsible for the success of the large number of US companies and their products in the various foreign markets. Hence, the main concentration for the US firms would be to concentrate on guanxi ties. An underestimation of the importance of managerial ties may reduce the firms’ ability to preempt opportunities and expand in the market. An overestimation of the role of managerial ties may make the firm vulnerable to contextual uncertainties and difficulties in responding to changes in industrial competition and market demand. Culturally, the propensity of Chinese managers to rely on informal ties is very high; hence this is the prevalent and general business practice in China. However, many theorists have also argued that this propensity is not just because of a tendency to be informal but also due to the failure of hierarchy and market based government structures. As a result, a network-based strategy emerges, which is neither hierarchy nor market. Hence US companies opening up a venture in China need to cultivate guanxi to get things done, which would no doubt have a direct influence on the company’s overall performance.

The section starts with the statement that guanxi is not essential or a guarantee for success, but in Chinese business environment, its absence usually leads to failure. He study concentrated on the two important ways how US companies can utilize guanxi in China – by having a local partner, and by having managers or coordinators who are basically from mainland China. Policy makers and officials in China and other emerging economies have been suggesting that they would call for the elimination of corruption, but they themselves are so much embroiled in the bureaucratic maze that it is difficult to expect anything radical in the near future. Hence, this study also showed that managers attached extremely high importance to their ties with the government. As long as the boundaries between the state and the firm remain blurred, managers will always have the incentive to cultivate ties with the officials.

7                    Conclusions

Although managers all over the world devote a considerable amount of time and energy cultivating interpersonal ties, in China the reliance on the cultivation of personal ties or guanxi is extremely higher. Building guanxi centers on the notion of networking. As a jargon use din business, networking means knowing the right people and making connections to accomplish individual and organizational goals. Managers in firms cultivate guanxi with other managers in different businesses as well as with business officials. These ties act as lubricants in exchange relations which serve to reduce transactional complexity, time and ultimately cost. Guanxi has a direct impact on the market expansion and sales growth of firms in China by affecting resource sharing and social, economic and political context in inter-firm interactions. Superior ties help firm’s infrastructure access, distribution arrangements, wholesale networking, and even project location selection. From all this it is extremely clear that any US firm deciding to open its operations in China needs to have either extremely good guanxi or should either hire consultant or have a joint partner whop has such dealings. All the successful firms in China have acted upon this principle, which though is extremely hazy to have a reference framework yet is tangible enough to forge and maintain.

8                    REFERENCES

Chen MJ, (2003), “Inside Chinese Business: A Guide for Managers Worldwide”, Published: Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts

Gold, Guthrie, Wank, (2002), “Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi”, Published: Cambridge University Press, New York

Langenberg EA¸ (2007), “Guanxi and Business Strategy Theory and Implications for Multinational Companies in China: Theory and Implications for Multinational Companies in China”, Published: Springer, New York

Luo Y, (2001), “Strategy, Structure, and Performance of MNCs in China”, Published: Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, Connecticut

Luo Y, (2007), “Guanxi and Business: Asia pacific Business Series – Vol.5”, Published: World Scientific, Danvers, Massachusetts

Tsui AS, Gutek BA, (1999), “Demographic Differences in Organizations: Current Research and Future Directions”, Published: Lexington Books, Maryland

Vinten G, (2005), “Managerial Auditing Journal: Financial Regulation”, Published: Emerald Group Publishing

Wong YH, Leung TK, (2001), “Guanxi: Relationship Marketing in a Chinese Context”, Published: Haworth Press, New York

Yeung HWC, (2006), “Handbook of Research on Asian Business”, Published: Edward Elgar Publishing, Northampton, Massachusetts

9                    APPENDIX

①      Bases of Guanxi (Tsui, Gutek, 1999, p. 120)

②      Perspectives of viewing Guanxi (Chen, 2003, p. 51)

Gender, Race And Ethnicity In Online Communication

Introduction

            Since the dawn of the computer age, computer networks have grown into an information superhighway where financial fortunes can be made, political deals cut, public debate can be carried out and popular culture can be modeled in line with human advancements in the 21st century. As computer sales continue to skyrocket, more and more people are being interconnected into a unique model of communal existence. Once an arcane and obscure set of technology that could only have been used by the elite and sophisticated researchers, the information superhighway has grown into an information resource that is relatively accessible to any computer literate individual.

            In Philosophical Perspectives on Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), Ess (1996) posits that CMC and its respective attendant, the cyberspace, which has been created by millions of Net citizens has evolved from a futuristic dream to an exponentially explosive reality. From a distinctly intellectual framework, it has evolved to be a source of any information while creating an expanding population of virtual communities. It is from such a social force that the aspect of democracy has been developed through enslavement of all persons via the perfection of computer network technologies that deceive on the identities of users but carry out surveillance as well (Ess 1996).

            Initially, computer networks only served to connect machines and perform complex industrial controls. However with the advent of the internet, computer networks have transcended from its initial potentiality to creating a range of novel social spaces necessary for interaction between different people. In such a novel social space, usually called the cyberspace, the economies of communication, interaction and coordination are unlike, the natural emotionally driven interactions that characterize face to face communications. It is this paradigm shift that has necessitated the utilization of millions of conversation spaces where physical, social and political barriers are obliterated (Smith & Kollock 1999). Network interaction media such as chat systems, e-mail, and conferencing systems enable people from diverse political spheres, religious affiliations, social standing and gender to exchange information covering a range of complex and simple expositions without discrimination on the basis of environmentally imparted inhibitions and prejudices like gender, race or ethnicity.

            Certainly early cyberspace community had the vision of a medium that would possess democratizing characteristics. Idealized visions of cyberspace culture hoped that as a Netizen community this novel form of interaction would facilitate only the exchange of informative materials between persons of an intellectual and social commune enclosure. Such visions elicited the dream of an egalitarian network where members of the intellectual and social commune would broadly participate in interaction with much openness and that the lack of visual contact would with time eliminate the irrational biasness and prejudices that discriminated against outsider groups or groups of low status in intellectual interaction. Moreover participants would be exempted from judgment or retribution. Socially constructed hierarchies would be dismantled and new modes of democratic interaction would emerge. In the context of such visionary expectations the main driving force of building the cyberspace as an interactive platform was to develop an interactive platform where race, gender and ethnicity were non existent and honesty, equality, mutual respect and universal altruism would create an unbiased discussion possible(Mann & Stewart 2000).

            Despite, the development of the internet into an all inclusive, all accommodative platform of interaction, powerful structural forces still promote the exhibition of gender, class, race and ethnicity hence obliterating the purely Utopian vision. This simply implies that when posting discussions on some networks, one is innately assumed to be of specific color and gender unless proven otherwise (Mann & Stewart 2000). The persistent anonymity and the ability to adopt multiple identities still hold the promise of the egalitarian vision even though there are still elements of intended discrimination by some online users.

Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Cyberspace

Gender in Cyberspace

            Gender, race and ethnicity can only be exhibited in the cyberspace when they are analyzed on the basis of identity. All identity on the other hand is nothing but performance. Identity as an entity is multiple and dynamic. Even in real life identities are shifted so many times depending on our actions and the reasons of engaging on such actions. It is therefore very difficult to differentiate between what can be referred to as real identity and that which cannot be referred to as real identity, otherwise called virtual identity. Real identity can only be fixed if we resist ourselves to old ways of thinking. It is at such a state that our identity can be fixed, remain stable and remain essential to facilitate its uses (Thurlow 2004).

            Online identities can not be real even though they may serve the same purposes of real identities. The fact that online communication accepts variable identities further removes such identities from being similar to real identities. It is because of these differences in offline and online identities that it becomes more appropriate to refer to identities used online as identity online as opposed to online identity because even in online communications they are still subject to fabrications(Thurlow 2004). Since identity is inherently virtual, all other things that are determined by its analysis can only be described as virtual hence virtual gender, virtual race and virtual ethnicity. Their effects thereof with relation to online communication can only be accepted with an understanding that all identities are virtual.

            Warhol (1999) contends that gender is a function of the minds and exists only in the form of virtual genders. This implies that gender does not simply embody the aspect of corporeal bodies. In the internet genders exist but they exist only in the form of virtual genders which is comparatively visible and subject to analysis. While society might be inclined to view gender performances in the context of corporeal entities, the internet and subsequently virtual gender clearly views such gender performances in the context of computer networks and cyberspace (Warhol 1999).

            There are some who may argue that the idea of virtual gender represents only an opposite term that denotes binary pairing, however, gender as analyzed without attachment to corporeal manifestations represents the styles, gestures, looks, diction, inflections or any other representation that classifies an individual in the society as feminine as opposed to masculine. In internet discussions such manifestations are elicited but they are not conforming to what culture prescribes as femininity. Discussions are presented according to the nature of the subject matter through critical analysis. The only difference in such discussions is the definitive structure of how the conversion is presented. A critical analysis of the discursive strategies employed in the conversion has the capacity to yield the distinctive patterns that conforms to the structure of feminine talk. This is also true for other discussions irrespective of the identity in signing in. men and women have different discursive strategies and this represents the virtual gender reality in online conversation (O’ Farell ; Vallone 1999).

            An opposing view is that of virtual sex which is generic of virtual gender and implies the sexual relations in the cyberspace. Such erotic interchange between cyber lovers who may never physically explore their eroticism only represents the concept of virtual sex where intercourse occurs without physical connection of bodies. When the same understanding is applied to virtual gender, then it is true that virtual gender exists without the biological aspect of femininity and masculinity. However, sociologically sex is understood to have two meanings. One meaning denotes the genital classification while the other is definitive of erotic encounters. It is this existence of two meanings that marks the interchangeability between sex and gender and hence the relationship between the aspects of sexuality and gender.

            This aspect is true in the internet where virtual sex often assume the reality of cross-gendered personas. For instance individuals entering in virtual relationships may assume that the affair is between a male and a female (genital classification). This is possible because the cyberspace possesses unlimited possibility of creating newly gendered versions hence novel identities. However, when this analysis is carried out within the understanding that the concepts of virtual sex and virtual gender are distinctly different entities, then it becomes easy to understand the existence of virtual gender in online interaction but not expressed as a component of sexual relations. At this point it is prudent to reiterate that whether in discursive or in bodily manifestations the concept of gender represents a purely environmentally propagated concept. Gender differences as a determinant of social roles and responsibilities is a product of culture and social structures (O’ Farell & Vallone 1999).

            Self care and the building of relationships (finding Mr. Right) are two dominant preoccupations that that determine peoples interactions, especially women in the internet. This involves the building of self. The building of self as a presentable internet identity was not initiated by the internet in itself but rather the internet has accelerated this transformation. It is common knowledge among Net citizens that an identity hereby referred to as a cyberself had to be modeled and assembled according to individual specifications (Agger 2002). Because identity is a necessity in using these interaction technologies coupled to the inherent variabilities of identity presentations, individuals are given the opportunity to fabricate their selves in line with self presentation specifications.

When women go online to build such a self through reproduction of self, they carry with them the traditional responsibility for domesticity. This means that even in the internet both biological and cultural terms will have to be exhibited because the societal responsibilities that define a woman have been inculcated into the mentality of the victim (woman) herself. This fact partially explains why sociolinguistics are able to discern a woman form or style of expression even in situations where the identities of contributors are hidden beyond the grasp of ordinary cyberselves (Agger 2002).

            Power in the world has always been dominated by male patriarchal systems that espouse subordination as opposed to inner dialogue. Therefore power according to women can only be viewed in terms of male subordination. Men in online communication exists as a distinct and different from women in online communication. Men are more likely to surf for the purposes of business and work related activities, pornography and entertainment while women on the net is but a reproduction of building their selves. Therefore to satisfy that natural desire of the building of self women are more likely to engage web pages that deal on child rearing, medical advice, self treatment and networking. This explains why chatting and e-mails which present a classic form of the development of self and self care are directly espoused by women. Therefore when power is analyzed in relation to on line communication then such a discussion is likely to digress into intimacy, sexuality, family, housework, housework, childcare and emotions as opposed to male discussions which present power in relation to the public sphere and the economy such as parliament, corporate boardrooms, military campaigns and the economic market place (Agger 2002).

Race and Ethnicity in Cyberspace

            Whether in academic research or in common understanding, racial and ethnic identity has often been associated with the body (Banton 1987). From as early as the 16th century, the concept of racial identity has always been studied and analyzed to denote common descent but such denotion is only relevant when the physical appearance and structure is included since race could only be carried by blood (Burkhalter 1999). According to Van Den Berge (1993) race is a bodily feature and its different from ethnicity which is representative of culture (Burkhalter 1999). Ethnicity describes cultural markers of membership. Such markers may include aspects such as religion, language and countless other symbols like holidays, music, tattooing, clothing and so on. This classification presents race as a heritable phenotype and in modern society race is described by physical characteristics such as hair texture, skin color, facial feature and musculature.

            Even if scholars desist from this classification of race and adopt classifications that define race as a status, a social construction or even a class, classifications of race are still predominantly of an biological phenomenon. The body has and will still remain an independent variable when carrying out racial identifications. Sociologically, it has been established that it is difficult and almost impossible to describe a way of life of a certain race without inferring on the bodily features of such a race. T5he social characteristics cannot describe a race unless they infer to the actuality of the race and that actuality is only exhibited as a function of an inherited lineage. The phenotypic and genotypic characteristics are therefore the only dependent factors in establishing identity (Burkhalter 1999).

            As with gender, race and ethnicity also heavily rely on the physical manifestations and cues when carrying out face to face interactions. Communications are designed according to racial affiliations because people usually expect people of other racial backgrounds to exhibit a certain mode of communication. This is unlike a sociological standing that only recognizes sociological characteristics because race; the bodily phenomenon and ethnicity; the cultural markers occur in a linkage it becomes easy to discern the relationship of bodily features and expectations on language and more importantly expectations of the nature of communication and interaction. Racial identities prescribe the manner in which we treat different members of the society.

            In face to face communication, physical characteristics play a pivotal role in conveying racial identity. Computer networks present a unique social platform where it would be easy to assume that gender, race and ethnicity would disappear due to the absence of physical characteristics. With the sense of unlimited freedom that exists in manipulating real identities such corporeal traits are to be expected to disappear but they do not. Textual resources in online interactions are determinant of physical characteristics and hence racial identity.

            Tal posits that even though it seemed possible that people of color could be completely disappear from the cyberspace, such a belief can only be described as illusory and is only serves as a mode of “whitinizing” the cyberspace (Tal 1996). Over that time of invisibility of the African American due to complex critical theories that were designed to reveal African American identity with the numerous forms of multiple identities, liminality and fragmented personas. For years some writers tried to propagate the illusion that culture which is definitive of ethnicity and race were non existent from the cyberspace. Recent evidence attest to the fact that even in the cyberspace the integration and multiplicity that marks the post modern form of the African American culture is existent and can easily be discerned.

            While physical cues cannot be represented online because race and ethnicity exist in their virtual forms, racial identification which is a determinant of interaction is not non existent. For example in blogs or online discussion groups where the topic featured is racial and cultural issues, it is possible to discern the racial or cultural background due to specific forms of expressions that can only be expressed in relation to racial or ethnic backgrounds. As discussions ensue, salient categories can be analyzed and broadly classified into general racial categories (Chinese, European-American, African American, Latino, or white). Racial identity represents itself in form of vernacular expressions that can be traced to specific racial groupings even in the absence of the body (Burkhalter 1999).

            Computer mediated communication (CMC) is a term used to refer to electronic mails, facsimile, voice mail or even electronic bulletin. With continuing advancements in computer technologies CMCs are have become commonplace in the society. Moreover, researchers are employing these technologies to determine the effects such technologies might have on the lives of members of the society. Studies have been able to demonstrate competence in using textual information to discern gender. Such technologies aim ate diminishing the physical cues that have for a very long time been used to denote gender and or ethnicity (Allen 1995). Textual information have been successful since they evoke stereotypical responses that are associated with the sexes.

Computer mediated communication systems use networks that can carry out surveillance on the number and presumed identities of individuals who are logged in because the networks have the capacity to equalize and democratize the communication processes passing through it. As such it can be a stimulant in ensuring that voices are heard as well as muffled. Moreover gender studies have also been facilitated due to the differences in orientation between the sexes in using these technologies.

            Race, racial identity or ethnic identity cannot be described as capricious features of cyberspace interactions. Moreover, participants in such discussions usually do not identify themselves by citing their race but rather if the discussions can be pragmatically analyzed the ambiguity of the social space as claimed by some researchers cease to exist because cultural identity even without the presence of names or bodily features is noticeable. For example if someone makes the statement “all niggers must die” in an assumed ambiguous social space.  A follow up of such opinions is will ultimately reveal the ethnic and racial identity of the poster of such an opinion.

            Certainty of racial identity whether online or offline even without any proof of phenotypic or genotypic traits is determinable without any hesitancy since people communicate in relation to who they are(the phenotypic and genotypic traits) and to who they are interacting with. The content of interaction is subject to linguistic differences between racial groupings. Online interactions have no capacity create any confusion in social interaction. Likewise it does not give racial or ethnic identity a chimerical quality. Because human beings inherently carry with them manifestations of racial identity, it means that in online interactions, racial identity is nothing but consequential.

            As much as we would like to believe that gender, race and ethnicity are non existent in online communication, a succinct analysis of various blogs even with the variabilities of identities reveals that racial identity, ethnic identity and gender are more easily discernible as they follow a known pattern that is usually exhibited in real life interactions. The only difference is that in the cyberspace the concepts of gender, race and ethnicity exist only as virtual entities. There are specific discussions in the internet that have the ability to bring out the gender, ethnic or racial background. Such discussions always are always modeled by societal inhibitions such as the insubordination of women which is responsible for their domestic mentality or on the other hand discussions on race or ethnicity are bound to warrant sharper and ethnically conscious reactions because of historical injustices of racial discrimination. In areas where such factors are not elicited, it becomes very difficult to discern the differences in terms of gender, racial or ethnic identities. Moreover, it can be argued that it is only in research designed settings that the concepts of gender, racial and ethnic identities can be fully established. In normal online communications the concepts are discernible but at a limited extent.

List of References

Allen, Brenda. 1995. Gender and Computer Mediated Communication. Sex Roles; A journal for

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Agger, Ben., 2004. The Virtual Self: A Contemporary Sociology. Blackwell Publishing. p.           129-140

Ess, Charles, 1996. Philosophical Perspectives on Computer-mediated Communication. SUNY   Press. p.2-5

Banton, Micheal, 1987. Racial Theories. Cambridge University Press. p. 1-33

Burkmaster, Byron. 1999. Reading Race Online: Discovering Racial Identity in Usenet   Discussions. In Mark Smith & Peter Kollock(Eds). Communities in Cyberspace. London:          Routledge or http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/communities_03.htm

Mann, C., & Stewart, F., 2000. Internet Communication and Qualitative Research: A Handbook            for Researching Online. SAGE Publishers. p. 161-163

O’Farell, A. Mary ; Vallone, Lynne., 1999. Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Subjectivity and            Embodiment. University of Michigan Press. p. 65-98

Smith, A. Mark ; Kollock, P., 1999. Communities in Cyberspace. Routlege Press. p. xv-xvii

Tal, Kali. 1996. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: African American Critical. WIRED            Magazine. October, 1996.

Thurlow, Crispin, Lengel, B. Laura, Tomic, Alice., 2004. Computer Mediated Communication:   Social Interaction and the Internet. SAGE Publishing. p. 103-105

Warhol, R. Robyn., 1999.The Inevitable Virtuality of Gender Performing Femininity On an         Electronic Bulletin Board for Soap Operas Fans. In Mary Ann O’Farrell., Lynne Vallone.     Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Subjectivity and Embodiment. University of Michigan Press,        1999. p. 91-97

 

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