Family Enterprise in the Asia Pacific
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Family Enterprise in the Asia Pacific

Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Firms

Edited by Kevin Au, Justin B. Craig and K. Ramachandran

This book analyzes the findings reported in the first Asia Pacific summit of the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project. Researchers in Australia, China, and India discussed eleven in-depth case studies to shed light on the challenges that business families and family businesses faced in continuing and extending their entrepreneurial capabilities across multiple generations.
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Chapter 7: The Deague Family: Learning Entrepreneurship through Osmosis

Hsi-Mei Chung, Kuang S. Yeh and Shyh-Jer Cher


Justin Craig, Wayne Irava and Ken Moores INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we introduce the idea of learning entrepreneurship by osmosis. Drawing from the experiential learning literature, we feature Australia’s Deague family. Experiential learning suggests that knowledge is continuously gained through both personal and environmental experiences (Kolb 1984). However, in order to gain genuine knowledge from an experience, certain abilities are required. Specifically, the learner must: (i) be willing to be actively involved in the experience; (ii) be able to reflect on the experience; (iii) possess and use analytical skills to conceptualize the experience; and (iv) possess decision-making and problem-solving skills in order to use the new ideas gained from the experience. As will be shown, the Deague family, in particular the incumbent leader, David Deague, have intentionally designed their family business structure to address these criteria. Specifically, consistent with Kolb’s experiential learning frame, David Deague has developed a culture within the family that cultivates a willingness to provide opportunities for family members to be actively involved in the business should they wish. He has mentored his offspring in such a way that they are constantly called upon to reflect on their own decisions and on the decisions that they observe being made at all levels of the organization. In this way, family members involved either in operational roles or on the periphery are able to develop analytical skills that can be honed and applied to new situations as they arise. The Deague family has diversified up and down the value...

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