Buyer-supplier relationship dissolution: The Chinese context

Andrew D. Pressey, Xin Xuan Qui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to examine the characteristics of buyer‐supplier relationship dissolution in China.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents the results of nine in‐depth interviews of Chinese managers of dissolved long‐term business relationships.

Findings: The paper finds that it is common in China for relationships to have a transferable “energy” after the dissolution of a relationship due to the guanxi that exists between individuals prior to dissolution. It is also common for dysfunctional relationships to “fade away” so as not to lose “face” for a business partner or damage any guanxi developed by abruptly ending relations. Additionally, a characteristic of dissolution in China is the involvement of a third‐party (an individual who introduced subsequent business partners), who would often then play an active role in the dissolution of the relationship.

Research limitations/implications: The findings are based on data from managers in private enterprises with no examination of state‐owned enterprises.

Practical implications: The paper offers guidelines for the characteristics of relationship dissolution in China that make it distinctive, particularly in comparison to dissolution in a Western context.

Originality/value: This study contributes to the understanding of relationship dissolution by examining buyer‐supplier relationship dissolution in China. The findings of this study suggest that much can be gained by examining predominantly western views of relationship functionality and dysfunctionality in different cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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