Guanxi or Justice? An Empirical Study of WeChat Voting

Abstract

WeChat is not only a mobile application with many innovative features but is also representative of China’s electronic revolution. It is compatible with more than 90% of smart phones and has become an indispensable tool for daily use. People are captivated by various types of WeChat voting and canvassing activities, but little research has investigated whether such voting is based on guanxi or justice. Are people truly willing to vote on WeChat? Is WeChat voting an effective means of acquaintance marketing? In this research, three studies were conducted. First, 656 respondents were surveyed, and the results showed that more than 90% of WeChat users have participated in WeChat voting and that their voting behaviour is based on guanxi (human relations). Second, an online questionnaire was administered to 731 subjects, and the results were statistically analysed to determine whether voting behaviour is motivated by guanxi (mien-tzu, reciprocity or intimacy) or by justice (belief in a just world). The results showed that people’s behaviour deviates from their intention. Third, 676 subjects were investigated, and logistic regression was used to model and analyse the characteristics of voting participants. The many interesting findings reveal that men show more ‘empathy’ than women and that men are more likely to vote on WeChat based on reciprocity and intimacy. In addition, older people emphasize emotion, whereas students are more interested in fostering connections for the future. Inappropriate WeChat voting behaviour does not facilitate promotional marketing, damages the reputation of the company and reduces customer loyalty. These findings provide theoretical, methodological, and practical contributions to strategies for effective acquaintance marketing.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.sohu.com/a/213562264_468721.

  2. 2.

    WEBSITE: https://www.wjx.cn/.

  3. 3.

    http://www.sohu.com/a/123625026_166488.

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Acknowledgements

The research described in this paper was substantially supported by Grants (Nos. 71210003 and 71471178) form the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and a project (No. 2011RWSK003) from the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China.

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Zhou, Y., Yu, Y., Chen, X. et al. Guanxi or Justice? An Empirical Study of WeChat Voting. J Bus Ethics 164, 201–225 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-4053-5

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Keywords

  • Guanxi (Mien-tzu, Reciprocity, Intimacy)
  • Belief in a just world
  • Justice ethics
  • Marketing ethics
  • Acquaintance marketing