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Informal Interorganizational Business Relationships and Customer Loyalty: Comparing Guanxi, Yongo, and Wasta

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Faten Baddar AlhusanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Based on social exchange theory, this research explores if informal interorganizational business relationships in China (guanxi), South Korea (yongo), and Egypt/Jordan (wasta) affect customer loyalty in a business to business context. A conceptual model hypothesizes interrelationships among three underlying dimensions of informal relationships, reciprocity, affect, and trustworthiness, and with customer loyalty. The hypotheses were tested using survey data gathered from manufacturing companies in China, South Korea, Jordan, and Egypt. Structural equation modeling shows that guanxi, yongo, and wasta are positively related to customer loyalty across all four countries. However, there are some differences in the relationships among the three dimensions. Although reciprocity is positively related to affect in guanxi and yongo, this relationship is not statistically significant in wasta. Further, the items measuring the dimensions of trustworthiness and reciprocity are the same in guanxi and yongo, but these differ from wasta. Thus, managers need to be aware of subtle differences in how informal interorganizational relationships are developed and used in international business to business relationships.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zhang M, Hartley JL, AL-Husan FB, ALHussan FB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Business Review

Year: 2021

Volume: 30

Issue: 3

Print publication date: 01/06/2021

Online publication date: 02/02/2021

Acceptance date: 16/01/2021

Date deposited: 26/03/2021

ISSN (print): 0969-5931

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2021.101805


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