Professional Doctorate - Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA)
Achieving a sustainable competitive advantage has been identified as a central tenet of success in a competitive business environment. However, the Chinese traditions of familial networking and building links through guanxi have seldom been reviewed within this paradigm. The goal is to provide both research and business with insights into how guanxi impacts on competitive advantage and how to successfully manage guanxi relationships. Before embarking on investigation of such an interrelationship, the study seeks to explore guanxi itself in a relatively under researched domain: Malaysia. Guanxi is seen as an act of reciprocity and is often associated with corruption and bribery by Westerners. Notwithstanding, guanxi appears to be an important constituent of the Asian culture and can be seen as a form of relationship investment. It is suggested that if guanxi is cultivated it can lead to business success. This thesis suggests that businesses do not have to rely only on low-cost, differentiated or focused strategies to achieve competitive advantage. There is a complementary force – guanxi. The study looks empirically at guanxi within a newly defined ethical context -guanxi(+). More importantly, the study concludes by identifying that guanxi(+) and trust plus selected key success factors contribute to a Malaysian firm’s sustainable competitive advantage. The research adds to business knowledge through a deeper understanding of the role of guanxi(+) in Malaysian business practice and identifies five key contributions: A deeper understanding of guanxi in Malaysia; a deeper understanding of guanxi(+) in Malaysia; a deeper understanding of guanxi(+) and trust in Malaysia; a deeper understanding of guanxi(+) as sustainable competitive advantage; and a deeper understanding of sustainable competitive advantage within the context of its inter-relationship with guanxi(+).