Title: Culture and inter-firm relationship management in China and Germany: an etic-emic perspective

Authors: Henry Xu; Yunxia Zhu

Addresses: UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia ' UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia

Abstract: Although extensive research attention has focused on comparative cultural study of inter-firm relationships, scarce literature has incorporated culture-specific or emic perspectives. We argue that it is crucial to incorporate the emic perspective since inter-firm relationships are embedded in the specific cultural contexts. To achieve this aim, we propose two culture-specific frameworks for comparing approaches of inter-firm relationship management in the German and Chinese auto supply chains. Therefore, a major contribution of this paper lies in using the emic perspective to complement the etic in analysing the inter-firm relationship process. Our research method comprises case studies and builds on interviews with business managers of the Chinese and German auto supply chains. We found that different approaches were used by the German and Chinese cultures for developing inter-firm relationships. Finally, the findings of this study have both practical and theoretical implications for developing culture-specific models of managing inter-firm relationships.

Keywords: emic perspective; etic perspective; inter-firm governance; knowledge sharing; culture; inter-firm relationship management; China; Germany; automotive supply chains; automobile industry; supply chain management; SCM.

DOI: 10.1504/IJENM.2014.066811

International Journal of Enterprise Network Management, 2014 Vol.6 No.2, pp.84 - 102

Accepted: 12 Jul 2014
Published online: 03 Jan 2015 *

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