Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Firms
Edited by Kevin Au, Justin B. Craig and K. Ramachandran
Chapter 2: The Mok Family of Hong Kong: Incubating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Kevin Au INTRODUCTION Automatic Manufacturing Limited (AML) is a pioneer among manufacturers in Hong Kong. It has become known for high-quality manufacturing and refrains from price competition. Its success, to a great extent, can be attributed to the effective governance and management systems it has built to promote excellence in learning and innovation. This chapter first describes the structures and processes that contribute to AML’s outstanding performance and then examines the system that the founding family has created to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in the next generation. This system has three distinguishing features: (1) it provides the incentive as well as a launching pad for the incoming generation to take risks and grow as independent entrepreneurs; (2) it gives willing AML employees the opportunity to join the spin-off ventures of the incoming generation; and (3) it forms part of an integrated plan to enable the incoming generation eventually to take the helm at AML. Accordingly, this chapter answers the question of ‘families as engines for entrepreneurship’ raised in the STEP research project (Nordqvist et al. 2010) by illustrating how AML addresses ‘change, growth, and the creation of the new’. In addition to addressing this central question, this study strives to enrich our understanding of family business in East Asia by giving a first glimpse into family portfolio entrepreneurship (Sieger et al. 2009), the idea of ‘open innovation’ and family firm innovation (Chesbrough et al. 2006), and spin-offs into new ventures with family support (Erikson et al. 2003). In the following...
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