Chapter 3

Combining Modern Management and Chinese Traditional Values

Chinese traditional values, which emphasize family relation and glory, education for younger generations, seniority, collective responsibility, harmony, magnanimity, diligence, hard work, trustworthiness, and solidarity translate into the family business. In most overseas Chinese family businesses (OCFBs), the ownership and involvement of family members is significant. They make strategic business decisions, develop business strategies, and oversee the company’s daily activities.

Family Businesses around the World: An Overview

Family businesses play a significant role in many parts of the economies of both developed and developing countries. Based on the data from Family Firm Institute (FFI), family businesses create an estimated 70 to 90 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually.

In Canada, around half of the country’s workforce is employed by a family business, creating nearly 45 percent of Canadian GDP. In the United States (U.S.), the biggest economy in the world, the greatest part of America’s wealth lies with family owned businesses. According to Astrachan and Shanker (2003), family firms comprise 80 to 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America. Family businesses also employ about 62 percent of the U.S. workforce. Some prominent names include Ford Motor Company, Wal-Mart, Hilton, and the Marriott Corporation.

In Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy, the majority of businesses ...

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