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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Volume18
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
ISSN1470-5958
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Keywords

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

Cite this