Female Leadership in Contemporary Chinese Family Firms


Drawing on a case study of a three-generation family business, this paper explores the antecedents and consequences of female leadership in contemporary Chinese family business. Our findings suggest that institutional change in contemporary China affects the role of female family members in the family system, which eventually gave rise to female leadership in China's family businesses. We also propose that in comparison to male leadership, female leadership in Chinese family business is more concerned with balancing work-family conflict; more dependent upon the family's endowment of resources; and more likely to favor a participative (rather than authoritative) decision-making style.


Business and Information Technology


We would like to thank coeditor Rico Lam, Michael Carney, and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions. We are also indebted to Jess Chua and Hao Wang for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this article. Shihui Chen (Corresponding Author) and Hanqing "Chevy" Fang are equal contributors. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 71272172, 71302059), the K. C. Wong Magna Fund in Ningbo University, the Provincial Natural Science Foundation of Fujian (No. 2016 J01335), and the Provincial Social Sciences Planning of Fujian (No. FJ2015C113).

Keywords and Phrases

Case study; Family business in China; Female leadership; Institutional change

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0217-4561; 1572-9958

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2018