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The Chinese Family Firm: A Model

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Three aspects of Chinese economic familism are distinguished: nepotism, paternalism, and family ownership. This essay is mainly concerned with the last aspect and the resultant phenomenon of the prevalence of family firms among privately owned Chinese commercial and industrial enterprises. It is argued that such firms are not necessarily small, impermanent, and conservative, because they tend to behave differently at various stages of their developmental cycle. Four phases of development—emergent, centralized, segmented, and disintegrative—are identified and discussed. This Chinese pattern is then compared with its Filipino and Japanese counterparts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of sociology at the University of Hong Kong.

Publication date: September 1, 1993

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