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From Friendship to Family: Jiangyiqi and Strong Interpersonal Relationship Development in Chinese Organizations

  • Xin Liang (a1), Sibin Wu (a2) and Shujuan Zhang (a3)

Moral obligation, reciprocity, and affection contribute to the development of strong interpersonal relationships. An indigenous notion in Chinese culture, jiangyiqi, captures these three component principles of strong relationship development in one concept. Jiangyiqi has been held anecdotally as a common code of conduct for building strong, trustworthy relationships in China. We explore the possible integration of these three components of interpersonal relationships in Chinese society in our introduction of the construct of jiangyiqi, based upon Confucian ethics and the circles of relationships delineated in past literature on Chinese societies. Drawing from social exchange theory as well as the perspective of reciprocal altruism in evolutionary biology, we propose that jiangyiqi makes an individual a good candidate for developing strong non-kin relationships. We discuss the managerial implications of jiangyiqi for relationship building in a Chinese cultural context.

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Corresponding author: Xin Liang (
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