A Dynamic Perspective
Edited by Alain Fayolle, Sarah L. Jack, Wadid Lamine and Didier Chabaud
Chapter 11: Ubuntu in family businesses: a case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
This chapter aims to extend studies on the embeddedness perspective of family businesses in Africa, where many such businesses are emerging but very few manage to survive the succession phase. We propose to explore the role played by ubuntu – that is, ‘humanity to others’ (Gupta et al., 2010) – in family businesses of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Based on an in-depth analysis of a limited number of cases, our results reveal that ubuntu in family businesses allows urban populations to cope with the crisis of the modern economy. Therefore ubuntu is useful during the start phase, because founders often benefit from human resources and funds from families on favourable conditions. However, such advantages give rise to many constraints on succession. Successors are obliged to assure management of businesses as well as family. This includes providing job security and revenue to family members. The challenge is to find a balance between family needs and business prosperity and longevity.
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