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Going out of ivory : social networks and university graduates' job searches in Guangdong, China

Authors Tang, Yong
Issue Date 2002
Summary China’s reforms transformed the country’s economy from a planned system to a market system. This transformation has led to changes in the behavior of university graduates in their job searching processes. Under the redistributive system, graduates were assigned jobs to the state sector, and past research indicated that the role of social networks was primarily to obtain influence from the powerful job assigning authorities. In the reform era, however, more and more graduates pursue opportunities in the emerging non-state sector in which social networks may play a different role. In this thesis, I study how university graduates search for jobs in the state and non-state sectors, with a focus on the different roles of social networks between these two sectors. For this research purpose, I conducted 30 in-depth interviews and a questionnaire survey in 2001. The findings show that while job seekers in the non-state sector primarily learn information through weak ties, those who search for jobs in the state sector mostly use strong ties in order to obtain influence from various authorities. This sharp contrast suggests that power-favor exchange relations still dominate in the state sector, and that China’s non-state sector is qualitatively different and market driven.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2002
Language English
Format Thesis
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