Strategies for managing different work patterns in Family business

Introduction – Research Overview

The most common type of the enterprises around the world is a family business. The family businesses contribute to the economy of the country and a recent study has revealed that majority of the family businesses in the free market economies are controlled by the families (Poza, 2015). The purpose to evaluate the strategies for managing different work patterns in Family business in Chinese context.

Ward (2011) discussed that Chinese family business has re-emerged as the core of the economy and positioned to lead the economy with 70% contribution to the GDP. The nuclear family structure has resulted in the retirement of the one generation while the second generation of the Chinese has a significant gap in terms of belief, values and aspirations. The lack of commitment and coordination results in free-riding problem and generate nepotism. These issues negatively affect the business and create a problem because of lack of commitment by members of the family and this creates a sense of injustice.

The role of effective strategies to manage the work patterns is fundamental for the efficiency and effectiveness of the family business. (Longenecker, et al., 2013)

Research Context

The growth of the family business usually results in the hiring of the family member to support the expansion and growth as well as it ensures that business profitability remains intact. However, despite the family members researchers have revealed that it can lead to conflict and disarray among the family members because the lack of cooperation and coordination (De Massis, et al., 2014).

Ibrahim et al (2015) elaborated that the amount of time and commitment may vary among the family members. The issues such as the optimal balance between the business and family demand, task competencies as well as motivation problems create nepotism and become significant barriers in the growth and efficiency of the business.

Moreover, the studies of strategies for managing different work patterns are not common especially from the internal management perspective of the family business. Since effective Strategies for managing different work, patterns is critical for the success of the business in terms of resource optimization and minimization of the nepotisms and continue business growth and maintain profitability (Breton‐Miller & Mille, 2015; Uhlaner, et al., 2012).

Chinese family business

The Chinese family business faces unique business problems which are unique and specific to Chinese context because of the cultural, legal and regulatory framework in the country. (Goel, et al., 2012)

The problems such small families (nuclear families) have resulted in the hiring of the extended family members to fulfil the key positions in the company. The legacy of the one-child policy represents different business situation for the Chinese family businesses. This creates the nepotism problems, discipline issues, succession and governance struggles as well as a problem to build the family business professionalism (Liang, et al., 2014; Chen, et al., 2016).

Research Limitation

The family businesses that will be examined in this study are small scale manufacturing business that total employees are between 25-50 employees. The nature as well as size of the business has significant impact in terms of defining the family and how work patterns can be managed.

Moreover, the specific business examined is associated with clothing industry (readymade garments) and therefore, there is vast number of business which has distinct needs and operational strategies have beyond the context of this study.

Research Aims and Objectives

Aims of research

The purpose of the research is to investigate the strategies which are used by the family business to effectively manage different work patterns. Family businesses have different problems compare to listed business because family business requires time, commitment and motivation across all members who manage the business.

The aim is to evaluate the strategies used by the family business in the manufacturing in the china and develop linkage with literature to propose a framework regarding managing different work patterns for the family business in the Chinese context.

Research question

The primary research question for this study is based on the purpose to evaluate the strategies for work pattern in family business which is

What are the most effective work patterns management strategies in the Chinese family business?

To answer the primary question, the secondary questions will be

  • How family businesses deploy operational strategy for resources efficiency?
  • What specific characteristics encourage the business to choose work strategies within the family business?

Research objectives

The overall objective of the dissertation is to investigate and develop an understanding on the strategies used by the Chinese family businesses to manage the work patterns and this study specifically examines the scenario from the ownership perspective.

Sharma et al (2012) that financially family business outperform the non-family business, as well as family business, expand more quickly compare to the non-family business. The strategic capabilities and its impact on the effective management and performance of the business will be critically evaluated.

  • To hypothesis the literature on the family business practices and operational decision making with particular focus in Chinese context
  • To determine the key factors which affect the business practices and its effect from social and control perspective?
  • To develop hypothesis between the strategic decision making of family business and characteristic of the business for effective work pattern management.

Literature Review


There is a lack of the common agreement on how exactly family business is defined and explained due to multiple approaches taken to explain to examine the family business  area along with rather a short term focus to conduct research. The family businesses have significant from a shop to large corporations which further increase the definitional confusion for the family business (Dawson, 2014).

According to Leach (2015) the family business comprises five domains and boundaries which are management, generational transfer, ownership, interaction among the family members as well as family goals. Moreover, the family business environment is based on family ownership and management, the linked sub-systems, the generational transfer among the members in specific business context and conditions.

Unique characteristics of family business

According to Perez & Colli (2014), a family business is defined as closely related entity within at least two generations based on the mutual influence on the company strategies and policies as well as objectives of the entity. The family business is the one which is transferred from the one generation to another for the management and control. For this study, we consider the family as an entity in which controlling interest remains with single members of the family and generational transfers is a key aspect of the business (Goel, et al., 2015).

Social and Control perspective in family business

The following are the unique characteristic highlighted in the management of the family business which include controlling interest and role of ownership, members influence on the decision making as well as bonding ties between the family members. Nevertheless, there are distinctive characteristics and variations in the ownership patterns, participations of the family members as well as families’ quality of the family members (Sharma, et al., 2015).

The enduring exchange is a critical component in the family business because of the slow changes in the ownership pattern and family ties. The horizontal relationship is based on the interpersonal factors and the vertical relation is based on the succeeding generations in the family business (Ibrahim, et al., 2015).

Decision making in family business

The family connections result in stronger emotional dimension in a family business which is largely made up from the subjective experiences. Moreover, the family ties and connections are a source of conflict which includes role and justice conflict, identity conflict as well as work-family balance problems (Poza, 2013).

The factors such as sibling rivalry, nuclear families and lack of clarity on the role affect the business decisions. The effect of the self-interest and interaction could blur the boundaries between the business and family. This overlap results in problems for the business in terms of time devoted and commitment of the members. The dysfunctional behaviour has serious consequences for the family business in terms of performance, profitability and growth of the business (Breton‐Miller & Mille, 2015).

Operational decision and family business

According to Krogerus & Tschappeler (2014), the operational decisions involve specific actions, resources commitment as well as procedures deployed. In other words, it involves certain characteristics and dynamic factors as well as a set of actions which result in a specific commitment for actions. Moreover, operational strategy is referred to the situation in which the senior leadership choose between alternative courses of action.

Therefore, the operational decisions making are directly linked with organisation strategy and in this study these terms will be used interchangeably to highlight the course of action and selection of the specific strategy for the work pattern management (Vermeulen & Cureu, 2015).

The Resource management framework

The following theories will be used in this study to examine the work strategies rationale used by the family business and their impact on the governance of the business (Knight, 2015). The following specific theory with the relevance of the family based business governance and management are resourced-based view, social capital theory, transaction cost economics and evolutionary approach. (Martinez & Aldrich, 2013)

resourced-based view, social capital theory, transaction cost economics

Research Methodology

Research approach

Research methodology is concerned with the design of the research as well as the approaches used of the data collection and consequently, the success of the research is based on the design of the research. Exploratory research is useful to analyse situation when there is no prior knowledge and the intention is to develop rigorous framework for the future research (Farquhar, 2012).

The exploratory approach will be used to investigate Strategies for managing different work patterns in Family business in Chinese manufacturing sector. The exploratory will allow examining the relationship between the variables through understanding the causes and effect of the actions of the individuals (Miller, et al., 2014).

Research design

The qualitative research is useful to develop an understanding of the event and it helps to develop the hypothesis based on the description of the event. Quantitative approach is useful to confirm the hypothesis and based on the rigid structure. The quantitative approach is useful to collect data from the large sample of the population whereas qualitative approach allows understanding and interpreting the information when population sample is small and there is need of greater flexibility to understand the problem. In this study, qualitative approach will used because it will offers the flexibility to study the attitude and motivation of decision making in family business. (Daniel, 2011)

Research strategy — Case study

A case study is useful to integrate data from various sources, understanding the relationship between the variables and generalize the finding. The case study permits to collect the data in the natural context without controlling the variables and ensures the event or a phenomenon is examined in a real-life situation. (Yin, 2013)

The case study approach would allow to understanding and interpret finding from a different family business based in china. The multiple case study approach would allow the flexibility to compare the result from different sources and increase the reliability and validity of the results. (Wiles, 2012)

Data collection

The primary data will be collected through conducting the interviews of the owners of the family manufacturing business in china. An interview is a direct conversation between the two people on a specific subject. The interview structure used in this study will be semi-structured which is based on the pre-determined analysis of the subject. This would give respondent additional flexibility to elaborate the situation and scenario based on the initial overview of the conservation provided to the interviewee (Zikmund & Babin, 2015).


The target population for the study is consisting of the small scale clothing manufacturing family business in china with number of employee 25-50. The population is specifically selected is in the clothing manufacturing (readymade garments) sector only rather examining all types of family business. The family business selected will base on the ‘quota sampling technique’ which allows understanding the impact of the family ownership structure and characteristic of the business.

The interviews will conduct over the Skype to avoid the geographic and time constraint. The participant of the research will be informed about the data usage and consent will be asked before the interview will be conducted. The interview processes will not collect any personal information or company confidential information to ensure privacy and confidently (Wiles, 2014).


The family business has limited number of resources and manpower to maximise the return from the asset through efficiency and productivity. Moreover, the management of such businesses are restricted to the ownership and the social and cultural complexities in china have resulted in added problems.

The amount of time and commitment may vary among the family members. The issues such as the optimal balance between the business and family demand, task competencies as well as motivation problems. Family business needs appropriate strategies to devote time for effective business management which ensure commitment and motivation for the business.

Therefore, through evaluated the work patterns in readymade garment family business would allow to maximise the resource efficiency as help the family business to overcome the operational problem related to manpower and working hours.



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