MOR Abstracts

MOR 18.2 Abstracts

Between Legitimacy and Socioemotional Wealth: Family Ownership and the Party Branches Building of Chinese Private Enterprises

Xiaobin He, Jiankun Liu


Since 2012, a large-scale Party branches building campaign intending to regain political influence in the private sector has been sweepingly promoted. Drawing on the Chinese Private Enterprise Survey conducted in 2008, 2012, and 2018, this study investigates private enterprises’ strategies in response to the intensified political pressure by integrating socioemotional wealth theory and neo-institutional theory. It is found that (1) private enterprises with high family ownership tend not to establish Party branches until political pressure is very high; (2) enterprises with high family ownership are more likely to adopt a decoupling strategy of evading the Party’s political and social goals; and (3) the owners’ perceptions of a better market and legal environment weaken the negative effect of family ownership on the establishment of Party branches. These results reveal the key logic of preserving the socioemotional wealth and ‘embedded agency’ of Chinese private enterprises when they confront institutional legitimacy mandates. This study also sheds new light on the causes of the decoupling phenomenon and the dynamic interactions between institutional environment and organizational behaviors.

Instrumental Love: Political Marriage and Family Firm Growth

Feifei Lu, Xu Huang, Erica Xu, Chi-Nien Chung, Xiaogang He


Political marriage is an under-investigated form of social capital for family firms. In this study, we examine the relationship between political marriage and the growth of family firms. We analyze this relationship using survey data from parent–child dyads of 164 family firms in mainland China, along with qualitative data from eight semi-structured interviews. Drawing on social capital theory and self-verification theory, we propose that political marriage makes a significant contribution to the growth of family firms. We further propose that the effects of a political marriage on firm growth are moderated by the duration of the marriage and the degree of romantic love experienced by the couples. We find that the positive relationship between political marriage and firm growth is stronger when the duration of the marriage is longer. Our results also reveal a three-way interaction effect of political marriage, length of marriage, and romantic love on firm growth. In this interaction, the positive effect of political marriage is strongest when the marriage is long and the degree of romantic love is low (rather than high). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Perceived Parental Care and Next-Generation Family Members’ Succession Intentions: The Sequential-Mediating Role of General Self-Efficacy and Perceived Person-Job Fit

Fei Zhu, Haibo Zhou


Whereas the existing literature on the relationship between parental behavior and family business succession mainly focuses on parental behavior in the business domain, we highlight the importance of parental behavior in the family domain. Integrating attachment theory, the family business succession literature, and person-job fit literature, our study proposes a theoretical framework hypothesizing that general self-efficacy and perceived person-job fit mediate the association between perceived parental care (an underrepresented family-domain-specific parental behavior) and next-generation family members’ succession intentions. This framework is tested by data from two surveys and further verified by qualitative interviews of next-generation family members. Multivariate analysis results suggest that next-generation family members’ general self-efficacy and perceived person-job fit played a sequential-mediating role in the relationship between perceived parental care and next-generation family members’ succession intentions. Our interviews not only confirm these results but also reveal new insights, particularly into the specific Chinese context in the study of family business succession.

A Far-Reaching Parental Love? Co-Governance of Intergenerational Succession and Innovation Activities in Chinese Family Firms

Zhenduo Zhu, Yuanfei Kang


Motivated by the research gap on intergenerational succession dynamics of family firms, this study examines the effects of initiating intergenerational succession on firms’ innovation activities. We propose that initiation of intra-family succession can result in founder–successor co-governance that represents a strategic transition to the succession and incorporates the two conflicting yet complementary directions of change and continuity. Grounded in the theory of altruism, we suggest that co-governance will positively affect firms’ innovation activities and that this positive link is contingent on the idiosyncratic intra-family relationships of kinship type, age difference, and gender difference between the founder and the successor. Furthermore, we posit that co-governance will lead to a flow of resources to low risk, rather than more inventive but higher risk, innovations. Based on the unbalanced panel data of 4,694 firm-year observations in our sample from listed Chinese family firms during the 2006–2015 period, empirical analysis supports our hypotheses and confirms that when examining family firms’ innovation, there is a need to take the heterogeneity of the intra-family governance structure more fully into consideration.

The Match Between Structural Attributes and Content-Based Orientation of Managerial Cognition: An Exploratory fsQCA Study of ‘Hidden Champions’

Linan Lei, Yanan Fu, Xiaobo Wu, Jian Du


Strategic decision makers interpret information and translate it into organizational action through the lens of strategic schemas. How should firms realize high performance with various strategic schemas? Cognitive content and structure have been shown to underlie strategic schemas, but few studies have considered them together. This study employs aggregation analysis to clarify the interaction between cognitive content (technology orientation, market orientation) and structure (complexity, centrality) in affecting the firm performance (FP) of ‘hidden champion’ companies, identified by the Economy and Information Technology Department of Zhejiang Province, China. The empirical method applies fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to generate strategic schema profiles for high FP. This exploratory study fills a gap in the literature on managerial cognition and provides key lessons from ‘hidden champion’ companies in China and their paths for small- and medium-sized enterprises to grow.