Firms within Families
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Firms within Families

Enterprising in Diverse Country Contexts

Edited by Jennifer E. Jennings, Kimberly A. Eddleston, P. Devereaux Jennings and Ravi Sarathy

Firms within Families: Enterprising in Diverse Country Contexts investigates this ‘double embeddedness’ of business ownership and management through two illuminating sets of empirical studies. Part I focuses upon the family-oriented goal of socio-emotional wealth and its association with a firm’s strategic orientations, strategies and performance. Part II examines strategies and experiences at the work–family interface and their implications for an owner-manager’s psychological well-being. Both parts feature diverse studies from the United States, Switzerland/Germany, China, Brazil, and India.
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Chapter 10: The work–family interface of business owner-managers in China

Li Tian and Yanfeng Zheng


One of the fast-growing emerging economies, China has achieved miraculous progress in terms of economic and social welfare development over the past few decades. At least part of this progress can be attributed to the evolution in the state’s orientation towards entrepreneurship, which shifted from one of strict prohibition, to one of tolerance then accommodation, and now to one of encouragement (Peng, 2004). As elucidated by Puffer, McCarthy and Boisot, although the economic reforms initiated in 1978 ‘were in certain respects a response to a bottom-up entrepreneurial dynamic,’ ‘most of the reform measures adopted since that time have been favorable to the development of an entrepreneurial climate’ (Puffer et al., 2010: 451). Puffer and her colleagues further noted that the public’s perceptions of the entrepreneurial function have shifted dramatically as a result; indeed, as documented within the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report (Amor— and Bosma, 2014), it is estimated that 69.6 percent of China’s population aged 18_64 consider entrepreneurship to be a good career choice. Indicative of this increasingly positive orientation towards business enterprising, ‘by 2005 China had 24 million private companies and was registering a 15_20% annual growth in their number’ (Puffer et al., 2010: 452).

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