Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Moonhawk Kim

Second Advisor

Vicki Hunter

Third Advisor

Thomas Zeiler


This thesis examines the role of “guanxi,” or the Chinese social phenomenon of complex relationship building through reciprocal favor exchange, also referred to as form of social networking. In conjunction with the implementation of the One Child Policy and the spread of communicative technology, guanxi has changed greatly in China. China’s previously large family networks have been reduced and people are using social media, and friendship networks more than ever. As a result, guanxi has become more social, expansive, and shallow and less geographically-valued, kinship-based, and emotionally profound. Guanxi’s role in hiring practices and the interaction of labor and capital will also be examined. Through the analysis of aggregate, demographic and technology, data, and the analysis of a series of first-hand interviews, the changes occurring in traditional and non-traditional guanxi will be justified and explained.