Guanxi influence and talent management in Chinese organisations: evidence from cases in the real estate sector

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The Chinese context has been characterised as one where guanxi influence is significant, shaping the choices, considerations, challenges and consequences of TM. There is though little empirical research which shows that this is what is experienced, and that guanxi influence does feature prominently. The purpose of our research is to explore experiences of TM in China, and the extent to which the guanxi influence affects TM.

Case study research to identify and explore guanxi influence on TM was undertaken in three real estate companies in China. Interviews with managers and employees on how talent is defined, attracted, developed and retained were analysed for guanxi influence. These show that guanxi influence is clearly present in the experience of TM, though this is not the sole or always dominant influenced on choices, considerations, challenges and consequences. This paper contributes to TM literature that guanxi influences play important roles in defining, attracting, developing and retaining talents in the Chinese context and also highlights both advantages and potential disadvantages of guanxi influence in TM activities.

Evidence suggests that guanxi influence is a relevant focus for understanding TM and for framing further research on TM in China. Guanxi influence in this TM context will continue within the Chinese context, and by extension in contexts where Chinese organizations develop their presence globally, but adapt also to learn from the wider international context of organization development and change in which best practice TM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number1
Early online date8 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • talent management
  • best practice
  • China
  • Guanxi


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