Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Firms
Edited by Kevin Au, Justin B. Craig and K. Ramachandran
Chapter 4: The Sun Family (Dawu Group): Passing the Helm to the Wise
Bing Ren, Bin Yang and Ya Li INTRODUCTION Family business is an important organizational form that has greatly helped to advance China’s economic development in the past 30 years (Boisot and Child 1996). However, in the case of many Chinese family firms, ownership and management are difficult to maintain across generations, and a key challenge for their long-term survival is to sustain their entrepreneurial spirit and transgenerational potential. Relative to the West, the interrelationship between entrepreneurship and transgenerational potential in Chinese family enterprises has not been sufficiently examined, and the way in which Chinese family enterprises expand entrepreneurially and are sustained is still poorly understood. Under the Asia STEP research project, we conducted an in-depth analysis of one Chinese family business enterprise, the Sun family enterprise (also called Dawu Business Group) in northern China. The case study examined the Sun family’s unique approach to entrepreneurship, their familiness resource pools and the important role of institutional contexts in shaping the enterprise’s growth. This chapter will discuss the significant findings from this research and their theoretical and managerial implications. Our research shows that the entrepreneurial orientation and familiness resource pools of the Sun family enterprise have significantly driven its entrepreneurial performance. In addition, the findings reveal a third factor that also exerted a significant influence, namely, the institutional factor. As a consequence of institutional influence, the Sun family business went through a series of unique entrepreneurial processes, with unusual consequences. This chapter will tell a story on ‘passing the helm to the...
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