Regarding gifts-on Christmas gift exchange and asymmetrical business relations

Jeanette Lemmergaard, Sara Louise Muhr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gift exchange, and the economy associated with it, is not restricted only to those tribal cultures where it has mostly been studied, but can also appear as an element of contemporary market economies. Yet despite this, the practical functioning of gift relationships between business partners is an understudied area. By studying the giving of corporate Christmas gifts, this article contributes to closing this gap. Gifts are seen here as signifiers of hierarchy, position and intent, and although market economy reigns supreme in Western societies, important layers of social economies-such as gift economies-dictate the way in which we behave and read the market economy. Christmas gifts thus represent more than their economic value, and have a social value that is capable of connecting or separating business partners in very specific ways. An understanding of this is crucial for companies trying to manage their image and the signals they send to business partners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-777
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration


  • business relationships
  • Christmas
  • economic anthropology
  • gift-giving


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