Title

Over the Weberian Wall: Chinese Family Businesses in Singapore

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

Overseas Chinese businesses have been characterized as possessing unique cultural attributes or being embedded in specific institutional environments that constrict their growth and lead to them taking on limited economic roles. Familism, particularism, nepotism and the lack of state support (among other cultural and institutional features) it is argued, stand in the way of the emergence of large, successful and enduring firms, and problems of inter-generation transition frequently lead to their demise. This paper argues that such a fatalistic prognosis is misplaced, and uses case studies of successful Chinese family businesses in Singapore to demonstrate how business leaders, as agents, can incorporate, defy, or re-combine elements from the socio-cultural environment in ways that enable continuity and growth. Additionally, this paper highlights the role of a proactive state at play in promoting a specific Chinese mode of doing business based on notions of so-called Confucian capitalism, which despite its culturalist associations, is based on capitalist practices.

Keywords

Chinese family business, inter-generation transition, Chinese culture, entrepreneurial agency

Discipline

Asian Studies | Business Administration, Management, and Operations

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies

Volume

25

First Page

99

Last Page

125

ISSN

1395-4199

Publisher

Copenhagen Business School