This study examines how guanxi (relationships, connections) between advertising agencies and their clients impact their creative performance and implementation by integrating both Chinese guanxi and Western relationship quality constructs into a conceptual framework. Using a multimethod approach, Study 1 and Study 2 used surveys to examine the influence of the three guanxi aspects—ganqing (emotional bonding, affection), renqing (exchange of favors), and xinren (interpersonal trust)—on agency performance from both agencies’ and clients’ perspectives. Study 3 used dyadic interviews to gather qualitative insights on advertising client–agency relationships in China. Results show similar patterns in the relationships between the three guanxi dimensions and agency performance in both agency and client data sets. Specifically, ganqing was found to associate positively with cooperation in both data sets. The impact of renqing on cooperation was significant in the agency data but not in the client data. On the other hand, xinren was found to contribute positively to cooperation in the client data but not in the agency data. In both data sets, cooperation was positively related to satisfaction, which leads to agency creativity and the implementation of advertising campaigns in China. The results of this study are important for further understanding the Chinese advertising market and providing insights on how guanxi influences agency performance across Asian countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management