Lone-Founder Firms in China: Replicating Miller et al. (2007) in a Different Context


We replicate, in the Chinese context, a study undertaken in 2007 by Miller, Le Breton-Miller, Lester, and Cannella (MLLC), which examined the performance differences among lone-founder firms, family firms, and nonfamily firms in the U.S. Our goal was to test the generalizability of MLLC's findings, as well as uncover contextual nuances that might exist in a markedly different institutional context that also includes state-owned enterprises. Our results corroborate MLLC's finding that lone-founder firms outperform other types of firms. We also find that when family ownership is at lower levels, family firms and nonfamily firms seem to have similar performance; however, family firms have a performance advantage at higher levels of family ownership. Finally, we find that state-owned enterprises are outperformed by lone-founder, family and nonfamily firms. Our study highlights the importance of distinguishing among different types of nonfamily firms, between family and lone-founder firms, and among family firms with different levels of family ownership. We discuss the implications of our findings and offer suggestions for future research in family business.


Business and Information Technology

Publication Status

In Press, Corrected Proof


Available online 02 Aug 2021

Keywords and Phrases

Family business; Family firms; Firm performance; Lone-founder firms; Replication; State-owned enterprises

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2021 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

02 Aug 2021