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Submission deadline: March 1, 2013

Privately-operated enterprises, as opposed to state-operated enterprises, have been developing in China since economic reform began in 1979. Over this period, these firms have become dominant contributors to social and economic development in China. Most of them are organized around the family, with the family owning, governing, and/or managing the businesses. This is perhaps partly due to the long-lasting and deeply embedded influence of Confucianism, which sees the family as the fundamental organizing unit of society. This focus on the family and its collective interests has caused many observers to characterize China as a collectivistic society in which individuals strongly value in-group relationships based upon kinship or other prescriptive ties. But it may also be the case that, due to the transitional nature of social, economic, political, and legal institutions in China, managerial opportunism is a more serious problem. As a result, social capital developed among family members and the unique ability of the family to discipline its members cause individuals to trust family members more than they do non-family members.

Clearly, societal values, in combination with institutional changes, for example, the evolving concept of property rights and the one child policy, will both provide new opportunities and create unique challenges for family firms in China. To date, however, there has been relatively little consideration of how societal values in combination with institutional transitions are influencing the development of the family-centered form of business organization in China.

The purpose of this special issue of MOR is to shed light on issues and challenges facing family businesses in China. Interest in family business research has increased rapidly over the last decade as the academic community came to appreciate the persistence and ubiquity, even dominance within many national economies, of the family-centered business organization. Depending on how one defines the family firm, they can account for up to 90% of all firms worldwide. Even in developed economies, 44% of the publicly listed firms in Europe and 33% of the S&P 500 in the U.S. may be considered family firms. Thus, research on family firms in general will help us understand more about this important contributor to social and economic life in both developing and developed economies. Addressing how societal values and institutional changes in China interact to affect family firms will greatly enhance our understanding of the present and future role of family businesses in the Chinese economy, which is predicted to be the largest in the world by 2032. Research on the distinctive aspects of family firms, such as the pursuance of non-economic goals, also has the possibility of enriching the extant theories of the firm.

Potential Research Topics

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  2. Potential Research Topics
  3. Special Issue Workshop

We seek mainly manuscripts that report empirical research, both quantitative and qualitative, on family businesses in China. However, conceptual papers that provide deep insight into the Chinese context to explain management practices and organizational actions of family firms will also be considered. Studies about family firms in other transitional economies are acceptable in comparative studies with firms in China. Studies of Chinese family businesses worldwide also would fall within the domain of this special issue if they have implications for the globalization of family firms in China. Thus, we invite submissions that incorporate or address, but are not limited to, the following research questions:

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    The influence of Chinese culture and tradition on family firms in China: For example, what cultural dimensions have had distinctive impacts on family businesses in China?
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    Family firms in a transitional economy: For example, what special challenges and opportunities do the institutional transitions in China pose for family firms?
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    Corporate governance in family firms: For example, how has corporate governance in family firms adapted to the changing institutional arrangements in China?
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    Family business succession and leadership: For example, what are the likely long-term influences of the one-child policy and property rights uncertainty on intra-family succession?
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    Family entrepreneurship, innovation, growth, and longevity: How will culture and institutions interact with family involvement to affect innovation, entrepreneurship, growth, and the longevity of family firms in China?
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    Family firm internationalization: For example, how do the internal (e.g. family capital, generational change, network) and external factors (e.g., government regulations, competition, opportunity) drive the internationalization process of family firms in China?
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    Mixed motives in family firms: For example, do family firms in China balance economic and non-economic goals differently from Chinese family firms outside China?
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    People management issues in family firms: For example, how do family firm human resource policies, organizational identity, and employee identity influence employee commitment and performance?

Questions about the special issue may be directed to any of the guest editors. Papers for the special issue should be submitted electronically through MOR's ScholarOne Manuscripts site at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mor and identified as submission to the ‘Expanding Research on Family Business in China’ special issue. All submissions should follow the ‘MOR Author Guidelines’, available online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1740-8784/homepage/ForAuthors.html

Special Issue Workshop

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  2. Potential Research Topics
  3. Special Issue Workshop

After the first round of double-blind reviews, the authors of the most promising submissions will be invited to a Special Issue Workshop on ‘Expanding Research on Family Business in China’ to be co-hosted by Zhejiang University and Sun Yat-sen University and held in the beautiful city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China October 17-18, 2013. Partial travel support for invited authors will be provided.

Guest Editors

Jess H. Chua (jess.chua@haskayne.ucalgary.ca) is Professor of Finance and Family Business Governance at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary. He is also the Fotile (Fang Tai) Professor of Family Business at the School of Management of Zhejiang University. Jess has co-edited two books plus co-authored one monograph and more than 50 academic and professional articles on family business. He was an associate editor of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and co-guest editor of eight special issues of ETP on Theories of the Family Enterprise.

Ling Chen (ietlchen@zju.edu.cn) is Professor of Family Business and Business History, Associate Dean, and founding director of the Institute of Family Business at the School of Management, Zhejiang University. He has published 3 books and over 40 academic and professional articles on family business in Chinese and English. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Family Business Strategy.

Bradley L. Kirkman (BKirkman@mays.tamu.edu) is Professor and holder of the Foreman R. and Ruby Bennett Chair in Business Administration at Texas A&M University. He has authored over 50 articles and book chapters on topics such as cross-cultural management, effectiveness of virtual teams, cultural issues in global teams, and global leadership. His articles have appeared in all major journals including AMJ, AMR, JAP, PP, JoM, and JIBS. He was an Associate Editor for AMJ and is an editorial board member for AMJ, JAP, PP, and Organizational Psychology Review.

Xin-chun Li (mnslxc@mail.sysu.edu.cn) is Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship and director of the Chinese Family Firm Research Centre at Sun Yat-sen University, China. He is an advisory board member of the IACMR, and a member of the editorial advisory board for several Chinese Journals. He has published over 60 academic papers in Chinese and in international journals such as the Management and Organization Review and the Asia Pacific Journal of Management.

Sara Rynes (sara-rynes@uiowa.edu) is the John F. Murray Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Iowa. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, the Management Education Research Institute, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She received the Academy of Management's Herbert G. Heneman Career Achievement Award for research in Human Resource Management in 2006, the Society for Human Resource Management's Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award in 2011, the Ulrich & Lake Award for Excellence in Human Resource Management Scholarship in 2003, and the Moskowitz Prize for the best quantitative research paper in the field of social investment in 2004. She was editor-in-chief of the Academy of Management Journal from 2005-2007.

Luis R. Gomez-Mejia (lgomez-mejia@mays.tamu.edu) holds the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business at Texas A&M University. Prior to that, he was on the Council of 100 Distinguished Scholars, held the Arizona Heritage Chair, and was a Regent's Professor at Arizona State University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota, and was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at Carlos III University (Spain). He has published more than 200 articles and 12 books in the area of human resources. His research has been cited approximately 10,000 times and has received numerous awards, including the ‘AMJ best paper’ award. During the past 15 years, much of his research has focused on family firms. A recent (2011) Academy of Management Annals piece by Gomez-Mejia and colleagues summarizes this stream of research.