Entrepreneurship in China: Institutions, Organisational Identity and Survival: Empirical Results from Two Provinces

38 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2003

See all articles by Barbara Krug

Barbara Krug

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

H. Hendrischke

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Date Written: January 29, 2002

Abstract

The literature on transaction costs concentrates on established firms in established markets, while the literature on industrial ecology concentrates on new firms in given markets. It is contested in the following that the picture looks differently if the analysis concentrates on establishing new firms in new markets, such as e-commerce or the new private sector in the formerly socialist economies. A new market is defined by high uncertainty. First, the general knowledge of expertise in a society is low, so that young entrepreneurs find it hard, and costly, to acquire the necessary know-how. Second, institutions, might these be the law, business practices, or intermediaries, are poor and underdeveloped.It will be argued that in China therefore entrepreneurship depends crucially on the ability to establish firms, i.e. to find organisational forms for business ventures that facilitate long-term business relations within and around a firm, that is to say, individual entrepreneurship depends on mechanisms for co-ordinating individual or organisational behaviour of firms. These mechanisms were lacking under socialist planning. The legacy of the planned economy was an environment of weak economic institutions in which state-socialist institutions uneasily coexisted with market institutions, and newness of private exchange added to uncertainty. In this environment, economic actors depended on collective action to create their own institutions, driven by the need to agree on rules of conduct in business relations and on sanctions against violation of these rules. The study will concentrate on two essential components of (private) entrepreneurship. One is the search for organisational forms conforming to the situational constraints; the other is the formation of business practices that enable individual entrepreneurship to become a viable and sustainable course of action. In other words, we will attempt to show how the transaction cost advantage of organisational forms and co-ordination mechanisms can compensate entrepreneurs for the disadvantage they face with respect to the lack of clearly defined property rights. Based on extensive fieldwork in two provinces where 100 firms were interviewed the study can show that1. as predicted by approaches in industrial ecology both experimentation and selection were crucial in shaping the new private business sector;2. on the individual level the performance-orientation of Chinese culture allowed entrepreneurs to combine rational decision making with tradition.Both factors can explain why for example the family in China but not in Chinese overseas communities is no longer the natural base for private firms, why networks are assessed by their expected performance, or why Chinese firm do not care about building up a core business.1

Keywords: entrepreneurship, China, evolutionary economics, culture and entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Krug, Barbara and Hendrischke, Hans, Entrepreneurship in China: Institutions, Organisational Identity and Survival: Empirical Results from Two Provinces (January 29, 2002). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2002-14-ORG. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=370955

Barbara Krug (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Hans Hendrischke

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences ( email )

Sydney
Australia
+61 2 9385 2187 (Phone)
+61 2 9385 1190 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://languages.arts.unsw.edu.au/staff/staff.php?first=Hans&last=Hendrischke

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