Notes On Running An Organisation: From Family Business To Corporate Family

In contrast to the United States, the so-called "family business" in China has become deeply entrenched in a significant proportion of private enterprises. The "family business" is not naturally harmful, ranging from family members and relatives to close friends and "old ministers", coalescing to form a "mock family" that works together. However, how best to apply the principles of "family" inside and outside the enterprise is a proposition that needs to be explored and practised by private family businesses in China.

When Alibaba rang the IPO bell in the US, many Alibaba Group employees saw their value soar overnight. In addition to Jack Ma himself, he was also rewarded by a team of entrepreneurs nicknamed the "Eighteen Luohan" who started with nothing.

The "Eighteen Luohan", as they were once known, gathered the start-up capital under Ma's initiative. Cai Chongxin presided over the meeting and allocated shares in the company to the eighteen people. From then on, the team of eighteen people worked together to build up the Alibaba Group, reminding us of the story of "The Peach Garden" or "The Water Margin".

"The outreach of "family members
It can be said that Alibaba's "Eighteen Heroes" have developed a "family-like" relationship through the overlapping of love and interests. A "family-like" relationship is a group of people who are not family in terms of blood, but are like family in terms of trust, intimacy and loyalty.
In 2010, the Alibaba Group started to implement the "partner" system, and the former "Eighteen" resigned as founders. Today, the number of Alibaba partners has increased to 34. Alibaba has continued to recruit employees who play a positive role in the company's development into the partner team, from the "Eighteen Luohan" to the "Thirty-four Partners", always allowing the core team to maintain a close friendship and interest linkage, building up a "corporate family" that shares the same sweetness and hardship. The "corporate family" has been a powerful force in the expansion of the business empire.

In the development of such 'corporate families', there are some in and some out, but the close ties are always the same. In Chinese history, when Li Shimin started his business, he had the "eighteen bachelors of the Qin Dynasty", and when he became a political power, he had the "twenty-four officials of the Lingyin Pavilion", which is a good example of a "similar family".

Since the reform and opening up of China more than 30 years ago, Chinese private enterprises have contributed to the take-off of the Chinese economy. Data shows that 85% of Chinese private enterprises are family businesses. The emergence of family businesses is in line with the long-standing ethical and social traditions of Chinese society, which is based on the "family" principle.

In the traditional smallholder economy, the family was the most basic organisational unit for the division of labour and cooperation. At the beginning of the reform and opening up period, the "one town, one industry" cottage industry was also headed by a member of the same family, who was in charge of each of the main departments of responsibility, and the work was divided up within the family. The family also uses ways to get closer to outsiders, creating a state of 'family-like', expanding the definition of 'family member' and running the organisation together.

Nowadays, with the development of the market economy and the improvement of the modern enterprise system, more and more Chinese people are establishing modern enterprises with family members as the core team in the economic organisation; at the same time, some of the "old" and "meritorious" ministers who have fought together in the country are included in the At the same time, "old" and "meritorious" officials who have fought together are included in "family-like" relationships and are involved in the family management of the company.
Many of these family businesses have expanded the concept of family to their employees and business partners outside the company, internally hoping that employees will identify with the company and have a sense of belonging like a family, and externally hoping that upstream and downstream business partners will become "family-like" and work together to develop into a "corporate family We hope that our upstream and downstream business partners will become "family-like" and work together to develop a "corporate family".

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