Understanding the size and spread of Chinese NGO networks: capacity and board affiliations

Jiawei Sophia Fu*, Michelle Shumate

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In recent years, the amount of research on digital inter-organizational networks among Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has increased greatly. However, few studies have examined the offline networks of Chinese NGOs. To fill this gap, the present study investigates the size and spread of offline Chinese NGO networks. In particular, we examine two competing hypotheses: the influence of organizational capacity and the influence of board affiliations as guanxi on the size and spread of the ego-centric networks of NGOs. To test our hypotheses, we conducted surveys among 119 Chinese NGOs. The results of the ordinary least squares regression supported our guanxi hypothesis: the number of organizational affiliations that the members of a board of directors have was positively related to the size of Chinese NGO networks, controlling for geographic region, social issue area, age, and revenue of the NGOs. In addition, as guanxi, board affiliations influenced the spread of NGO networks via the size of NGO networks. This study contributes to the research on Chinese inter-organizational communication networks in general and to Chinese NGO offline networks, NGO capacity, and guanxi culture in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-88
Number of pages17
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


  • capacity
  • guanxi
  • interlocking board
  • network
  • non-governmental organization (NGO)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the size and spread of Chinese NGO networks: capacity and board affiliations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this