Small Business Economics

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 1017–1032 | Cite as

Family involvement, environmental turbulence, and R&D investment: evidence from Listed Chinese SMEs

  • Jie YangEmail author
  • Jieqiong Ma
  • Hongxin Zhao
  • Jim Cater
  • Mark Arnold


This study draws on the insights of institutional theory and the environmental contingency perspective to explore family firm leaders’ approaches toward R&D investment in China. Our sample consisted of 577 manufacturing firms listed on the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange over a period of three years (2013–2015), representing a total of 1731 observations. Our findings show that family firms tend to invest less in R&D than their counterparts among non-family firms. Interestingly, this negative impact on R&D investment grows stronger under conditions of high technological turbulence and high government policy turbulence, but not under conditions of high market turbulence.


Family firms Environmental turbulence R&D investment China 

JEL classifications

L26 O32 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marketing and Management, Soules School of BusinessThe University of Texas at TylerTylerUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marketing & International Business, Frank G. Zarb School of BusinessHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA
  3. 3.Department of International Business, Richard A. Chaifetz School of BusinessSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Marketing, Richard A. Chaifetz School of BusinessSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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