Formal and Informal Patterns of Coordination
New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series
Edited by Werner Pascha, Cornelia Storz and Markus Taube
Chapter 7: The Current State of Research on Networks in China’s Business System
Johannes Meuer and Barbara Krug 7.1 INTRODUCTION . . . if one would understand Asian economic development, one must first understand Asian business networks. (Hamilton, 1996: 10) 7.1.1 Network Research in China Research on social and organizational networks in China increased significantly during the 1970s when Western social sciences started to focus on the concept of networks. Central to the study of networks in China has always been the attempt to explain the uniqueness if not Chineseness of social and organizational networks. Most of this research had initially been dominated by anthropologists and sinologists (Anonymous 1991; van der Sprenkel 1991; Whyte 1991; Zheng 1991), seemingly defying the usual social science concepts. Only recently did network studies in China include social science considerations, while simultaneously general network studies looked for ways how to better include the notion of culture (Boisot and Child 1988; Krug and Hendrischke 2008). Today, network research in general as well as network research in China has reached a mature state (e.g. Academy of Management Journal 1997; Acta Sociologica 1994; Organization Studies 2003; Strategic Management Journal 2000). One indicator is the publication of special issues in academic journals. As calls for special issues are regularly expressed when a topic has attracted the attention of more than one academic field, to the effect that large numbers of theoretical and empirical contributions appeared in too dispersed locations, such special issues point to the need to ‘take stock’. 145 M2649 - PASCHA PRINT.indd 145 23/06/2011 15:14 146 Institutional variety in East Asia 7.1.2...
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