Guanxi Discussion Post: Interpersonal Relationships in Confucius Societies

The teachings of Confucius, as observed in the predominant cultures in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea, have high regard for the ideals of ‘guanxi’. Accordingly, the term has reference to the interpersonal connections or relations that facilitate such collaborations as business interactions or even cooperating with authorities or the people who matter to you. In fact, the Confucius societies have one common saying: “who you know is more important than what you know” (194). These are the connections between one person to another that are considered most important within the Confucius societies.

However, as noted in the chapter, while these connections are widely appreciated for the success they bring in business relations in the society from the East, the importance of the connections in Western societies is relatively low. In fact, while Confucius societies strive to make their connectedness as public as possible, the majority of Western cultures strive to hide the connectedness. I have learned that while the motive of connections in business circles is paramount within every society, Westerners perceive the disclosure as a threat. The person one knows matters more in Confucius’s society, but it has little regard when made public in Western societies.

Therefore, Westerners try to keep the element of “guanxi” as concealed as possible because it is often confused with corruption. Nevertheless, the essence of the connectedness in both of the Eastern and Western cultures highly regard legitimacy. I would, therefore, find that Confucius’s teachings are among the oldest lessons highly regarded in modern society, not only within the cultures that teach the same but also within other societies. All human beings could thus be argued to value some form of connections as espoused by “guanxi” although the relevance is higher within the Confucius societies.


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