Chinese entrepreneurship in context

Tai Lok LUI, W. P. Thomas WONG

Research output: Book/ReportBooks

Abstract

This paper is an attempt to join the current research on the Chinese entrepreneurial ethic on two counts. First, we shall review the literature and identify the ambiguities in the current conceptualizations of Chinese entrepreneurial ethic. It is our suggestion that there exists the tension between, on the one hand, an emphasis on strategizing behaviour and, on the other, a tendency to insist on a culturalist collimation in the current discussion. We shall contend that existing research largely supports the strategic perspective. Furthermore, it is argued that, in order to grasp the meaning of Chinese entrepreneurship, one must place it in its social context and see it not as a value for defining ends of actions but as a tool for developing action strategies. Secondly, drawing upon survey data on social mobility in contemporary Hong Kong, we shall examine the construction of the Chinese entrepreneurial strategy in the context of social stratification and opportunity structure. Our findings suggest that entrepreneurship can best be conceived as an option of mobility strategy in an economy characterized by rapid growth and the predominance of small business. Moreover, in our analysis of entrepreneurship as a mobility strategy, we shall point out that running a small business is by no means the only channel of social mobility in contemporary Hong Kong. Equally important is the strategy of credentialism and bureaucratic career. By placing the Chinese entrepreneurial ethic in its social context, we are able to see its connection with other strategies of social advancement.
本文嘗試介入現時有關華人創業精神的討論。首先,筆者檢閱了相關的文獻,指出現時的討論存在著兩種不同的分析取向——一種觀點視創業為策略性行為,而另一種則強調經濟行為的文化性質。現有研究資料主要是支持策略性行為的論點。筆者又指出,要瞭解華人企業家精神的意義,必須掌握創業行為的社會環境,並視創業為發展策略行為之工具,而不是一種界定行動目標的價值觀。
筆者繼而引用「一九八九年香港社會流動調查」的資料來分析華人創業行為之構成。資料顯示創業精神可被理解為一種社會流動之策略。出現此策略之社會背景,乃一發展迅速、並以小企業為主之經濟結構。與此同時,市民大都認為,在當代香港社會,創業並非爬升社會階梯之唯一選擇,同樣重要的是以文憑、學歷為手段之職業策略。
從社會處境的角度入手分析華人創業精神之形成,可幫助我們加深瞭解它與其他社會流動策略之關係。 Copyright © 1994 Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
ISBN (Print)9624410380
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1994

Citation

Lui, T.-L., & Wong, T. W. P. (1994). Chinese entrepreneurship in context. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Keywords

  • Alt. title: 《華人創業精神之社會處境分析》

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