Social Capital as it Pertains to International Ventures in Asia: A Comparative Study of Theravada Buddhist Laos and Confucian China

Bjarne Sorensen, Bo Bernhard Nielsen

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Social capital was investigated in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (abbreviated as Laos), and findings were compared and contrasted to social capital practices in Confucian contexts (in particular China). We found horizontal social capital between heterogeneous groups in Theravada Buddhist Laos to be relatively accessible compared to the more homogeneous Confucian networks, whereas vertical networks with government officials are of greater importance in Confucian contexts. Through comparison between Lao and variations of Confucian social capital, we identified a number of distinctive features of Lao social capital (teun tang sangkhom) which delineate it from guanxi and other concepts identified in the literature. We argue that Lao social capital is not merely a new label for old concepts in the Western or guanxi literature, but rather is a uniquely evolved artefact of Lao society and thus represents a new distinct concept in the literature. Furthermore, through comparative insights into networking practices in Theravada Buddhist Laos and Confucian contexts, this research provides a more nuanced understanding of similarities and differences in cross-cultural management in the region.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)221-240
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2018


  • Asian business networks
  • Confucianism
  • International ventures
  • Institutional voids
  • Lao people’s democratic republic
  • Social capital
  • Theravada Buddhism