Unlike other economies, family businesses in China are greatly affected by the derived Confucian culture, excessive marketization, as well as the seemingly endless institutional supervision by a transitional Chinese government. China has a strong historical legacy, devoted to patriarchal values and strong family-centered traditions.
This volume discusses the current status, upcoming challenges, and future prospects for family businesses in China. It explores unique organizational characteristics that are associated with Chinese family firms, such as being entrepreneurial, having concentrated power in the hands of the family business owners, and extensive family and semi-family involvement in the business. It also discusses shared features of strategic actions among Chinese family firms that include technology innovations, diversification, and internationalization, as well as the political connections that Chinese family firms often have. This book offers researchers a comprehensive overview of small family firms that are likely to be home-based microenterprises as well as large publicly traded business groups that are frequently owned by business families.
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Ling Chen is Professor of Family Business and Business History in the School of Management, Zhejiang University, China. He is the Founding Director of the Institute of Family Business Research at Zhejiang University and has served as the Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurs since 2014. His main research areas are succession, professionalization, and corporate governance in family business, and comparative study in business history.
Jian An Zhu is a Professor and Dean of the Department of Applied Economics at Zhejiang University City College, China. Since 2011, he has served as the Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Family Business.
Hanqing Fang is Assistant Professor of Business and Information Technology at Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA. His research primarily focuses on family firms, entrepreneurship, and strategic management.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Part 1. Family business in China: Present status [Chapter 2-3]
Chapter 2. Status and characteristics of a Chinese family business 2.1 Overview2.2 Size, region, and industry 2.3 Organizational characteristics 2.4 Technology innovation, diversification, and internationalization2.5 Political connections 2.6 Public Impressions
Chapter 3. Economic influences of a Chinese family business 3.1 Economic contribution 3.2 Social contribution of a family business
Part 1 focuses on the current status of a family business in contemporary China. Three chapters are included in this part.
First, the basic status and features of a family business in China will be discussed (Chapter 2). Here, we follow Chua and colleagues (1999) in defining a family business by a family's involvement in a firm, which allows it to pursue family-centered goals and to utilize family-based resources in its strategic initiatives.
This part initially elaborates on the prevalence of Chinese family businesses, the characteristics and distribution of the "average" family business in China, as well as sizes, industries, regions, and organization of life stages. Note that we intend to focus on both small family firms that are likely to be home-based microenterprises and on large publicly-traded business groups that are frequently owned by business families. Also discussed are unique organizational characteristics that are associated with Chinese family firms, such as being entrepreneurial, having concentrated power in the hands of the family business owners, and extensive family and semi-family involvement in the business. Furthermore, we explain shared features of strategic actions among Chinese family firms that include technology innovations, diversification, and internationalization, as well as the political connections that Chinese family firms often have. Finally, we discuss the public's impressions of family businesses and business families, and the reasons behind positive and negative public images.
The second part focuses on the economic and social contributions by family businesses in China (Chapter 3). Here, we explain the contributions of a family business to the national economy, tax payments, employment, and growth in various industries. Also discussed are the "social" contributions provided by Chinese family firms (technology innovations, friendliness to the environment, financial donations, etc.).
Part 2. Challenges of the family and family business in China [Chapter 4-6]Chapter 4. Family and family business in China's modernization 4.1 Modernization of the Chinese family 4.2 Modernization of Chinese family businesses 4.3 Characteristics of Chinese family businesses?
Chapter 5. Growth and succession 5.1 "Shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves" in three generations of a century-old business 5.2 "Pass-to -heir" or "Pass-to-capable" 5.3 Implementing a succession plan: What and how 5.4 Succession in a Chinese family business: Insights and recommendations
Chapter 6. Strategic management of a Chinese family business
Chapter 7. Governance structure of a Chinese family business 6.1 Governance in business 6.2 Governance in family The three chapters in Part 2 focus on the unique challenges faced by a Chinese family business and on those confronting a business family. First, we explain the challenges stemming from the modernization of the family and the modernization of family businesses (Chapter 4). Special attention is given to certain challenges that are unique in the Chinese context, including the "one-child" policy and family business succession; the rise of feminism and involvement of females in Chinese family businesses; changes in personal briefs and social values; and changes in family functions, family structure, and family relations in China.
The second part explains the unique challenges of succession in Chinese family businesses (Chapter 5). The discussion initially addresses the myths and secrets of being a "century-old" family business, and the lessons learned from avoiding "shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves" in three generations. Then, we explain the dilemma of choosing between "pass-to-heir" and "pass-to-capable" in the succession of individuals in a Chinese family business. Also discussed is the implementation of a succession plan in terms of "dos and don'ts" and how family business practitioners should carry out the succession plan.
The third part will draw attention to the governance of a family business as well as the governance of the family system in China (Chapter 6).
Part 3. Future of the family business in China [Chapter 7-9]Chapter 7. The family system in China: An outlook 7.1 Economic versus emotional function 7.2 Continuity of the family systemChapter 8. Evolution of a Chinese family business Chapter 9. Privileged or entrepreneurial?
Part 3 focuses on the future prospects of family businesses in China. Here, it starts with an estimate of the future prospects of the family system there (Chapter 7). In particular, attention is placed on the diminishing economic functions and the increasingly-important emotional functions behind the family system. In addition, there is discussion about the relevant social and demographic trends in China's urbanization and modernization that will, or will not, continue in terms of their influences on the family system in China (Chapter 8). Then, the future prospect of family business as a special form of organization in China is addressed, with emphasis on whether business families might create a privileged social class, or whether those families can remain entrepreneurial, even among second- or later-generation family members (Chapter 9).
Chapter 10. Conclusion
Conclusive remarks are included in this chapter with information concerning the monograph's theoretical and practical contributions and limitations, plus future research recommendations.
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