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Xiangdong Chen, Xiaoqing Liu and Yong Wang

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Donella Caspersz, Yong Wang, Salvatore Tomaselli and Rong Pei

The aim of this chapter is to describe a qualitative study of how e-commerce affects the organisational form and identity of family business in China. This is by integrating a narrative about the development of family business and e-commerce in China with an exploratory analysis of e-commerce adoption by two Chinese family businesses. Institutional theory frames this discussion. Using an inductive methodology, the study suggests that the cases of family businesses that adopt an e-commerce strategy in China illustrate the tensions family businesses face in an emerging economy. These include not only the imperative to manage the challenges stemming from the institutional context, but also those that emerge from within the family business, most notably the generational differences.

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Salvatore Tomaselli, Yong Wang, Donella Caspersz and Rong Pei

This book chapter aims to contribute to increase our understanding of how e-Commerce strategy is designed, implemented, and influenced by family dynamics in family businesses, in China. Our research followed an exploratory and qualitative approach to analyse e-Commerce adoption by three Chinese family businesses, two of which were located in Beijing and one in Xinjiang. We used semi-structured interviews with key informants in the firms, focused on business history, business resources, as well as its corporate and e-Commerce strategies, and the family influence on the adoption of such strategies. The interviews were prepared based on the findings of a preliminary review of the literature on e-Commerce strategy in family businesses. Our findings offer some insights on the influence of the family relationship in the adoption of e-Commerce showing the existence of synergies among the family firm’s behavioral and social resources and the resulting capabilities that represent the heart of family firm social capital. So, seem to support the proposition that along with other enabling and constraining factors that are identified in the literature, the family should also be considered as a crucial element in influencing the adoption of e-commerce strategies in family businesses. The chapter also makes a conceptual contribution by proposing to adjust the original model proposed by Molla, Heeks, and Balcells (2006) to include the family and its dynamics among the influencing factors affecting e-Commerce and corporate strategy in family businesses. Finally, it discusses the implications of our findings on e-commerce corporate strategy of the firms in our study, and proposes future research agenda in this area.