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Balancing formality and informality in business exchanges as a duality: a comparative case study of returnee and local entrepreneurs in China
journal contributionposted on 2015-08-05, 13:44 authored by Daomi Lin, Jiangyong Lu, Peter Ping Li, Xiaohui Liu
The management paradigms in the West mainly rely on legal contracts and explicit rules (formality), while the management traditions in the East emphasize social relationships and implicit norms (informality). In an era of ‘West-meets-East’, balancing formality and informality is becoming critical for firms, especially those facing institutional differences in transnational contexts and institutional transitions. In this study, we conducted a comparative multi-case study on returnee entrepreneurs and local entrepreneurs in China. We found that at the early stage of venturing returnee entrepreneurs emphasized formality more than informality, while local entrepreneurs stressed informality more than formality. However, the formality-informality balance among both returnee and local entrepreneurs converged over time in line with the institutional transition in China. Returnee entrepreneurs increased the emphasis on informality (but kept the dominant position of formality), whereas local entrepreneurs gradually shifted from informality to formality. The spatial pattern of asymmetrical balancing and the temporal pattern of transitional balancing are both rooted in the Chinese philosophy of Yin-Yang balancing.
- Business and Economics
Published inManagement and Organization Review
Pages315 - 342
CitationLIN, D. ... et al, 2015. Balancing formality and informality in business exchanges as a duality: a comparative case study of returnee and local entrepreneurs in China. Management and Organization Review, 11 (2), pp.315-342.
PublisherCambridge University Press (© The International Association for Chinese Management Research)
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Publisher statementThis work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
NotesThis paper was accepted for publication in the journal Management and Organization Review [Cambridge University Press / © The International Association for Chinese Management Research] and the definitive published version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/mor.2014.2