The development of entrepreneurship in Chinese communities: An organizational symbiosis perspective

Ji LI*, Michael YOUNG, Guiyao Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Why has the rate of entrepreneurship recently gone down in Singapore? Why is entrepreneurship in Southern China (e. g., Guangdong or Fujian provinces) relatively higher than in the rest of China? Why is corruption rampant in some Chinese business communities but virtually nonexistent in others? Although we often speak of "Chinese entrepreneurship" as a monolithic entity, the fact is that there are many variants of Chinese entrepreneurship and these variants continue to rapidly evolve and take on new forms. Yet mainstream management or organizational theories have been at a loss to explain these high rates of variation and evolution. To shed light on these issues, we introduce the idea of symbiosis from biology and adapt it to the development of entrepreneurship in Chinese ethnic communities. Symbiosis is the science of how different organisms coexist with each other in a self-sustaining system. Using this approach, we develop six propositions to explain what types of entrepreneurship are likely to evolve in different Chinese ethnic communities and how this process of evolution is likely to proceed. The implications for researchers and practitioners are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-385
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Symbiosis


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