Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Research on Social Capital and Conflict Management Mechanism of Family Business's Top Management Team

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Research on Social Capital and Conflict Management Mechanism of Family Business's Top Management Team

Article excerpt


Social capital embedded in top management team decides knowledge, information and capacity of family enterprise's top management team, and emphasizes conflict management mechanism of TMT. The article analyzes social capital of TMT, conflict and conflict management mechanism, measures conflict management mechanism of TMT, states the relationship among inner social capital, firm-external social capital and conflict management mechanism of TMT, and prospects and future research.

Keywords: family enterprise, top management team, social capital, conflict management mechanism

1. Introduction

In the time of economic transition, Chinese family enterprise has faced the situation of lack of congenital resources controlling by the government and relationship orientation. Governments, enterprises and senior executives have established the rights, interests and relationships with Chinese characteristics and institutional factors such as TMT (Top Management Team)'s own social capital, relationships et al. on the one hand, the regulation and complement of formal institution play more and more important roles in enterprises' strategic decision, on the other hand, along with the rapid economic development, any organization will inevitably make a conflict, while family enterprise is conceived as a hotbed of conflict, from the fight for company control in GOME, Ford familial bar and Dartmouth group war traced back to the struggle between Thomas Watson senior and Watson Jr. in IBM group, family enterprises' disputes caused by the executive team are common. Therefore, how executives team take advantage of their own social resources external acquisition ability and internal exchange capacity to calmly deal with and effectively manage the increasing conflicts and contradictions is crucial to the team success and family enterprise success. In conclusion, the paper tries to embed the TMT members to executive team and organization of social structure instead of taking the executive team as a isolated whole or only as a single entity to state the function and significance of the internal and external social capital of TMT to the conflict management mechanism.

2. Social Capital of TMT

The contemporary social capital theory is inseparable of the contribution of Pierre Bourdieu, Coleman, Putnam, grand's victor and Bert et al, the research which differs from sociology, economics, and management forms the social capital concept jungle. In studies, the scholars focus social capital theory on particular levels, including individual levels (Burt, 1992), the level of organization (Leana, 1999) and industry levels (Walker, 1997) et al. But when studying social capital, the scholars did not do relatively effective integration analysis for each different levels of discuss; at the same time, though social capital theory is developing rapidly in social science, TMT's social capital theory is still very scarce, more focuses on using cognitive structure, trust, cohesion and several other factors to determine executive Teams' characteristics, but in some sense ignores TMT member's external open network connection (government, market, inside organization, and environment); In addition, in academic circles there is no agreement of opinion on the precise structure of social capital of TMT. Some researches (Burt, 2007) which are based on theories written by Nahapiet & Ghoshal (1998) , has defined three dimensions of social capital of TMT as team structure, team relations and team cognitive. Shipilov and Danis (2006) think for the first time that leaders and members of TMT divided social capital of TMT into two types: internal social capital (Bonding Social Capital), and external social capital (Bridging Social Capital) through the social relation network, which are based on trust and norms of ability of exchanging resources. From previous studies, we can infer that internal social capital has three dimensions such as structural, relational and cognitive, and external social capital can be divided into vertical connection, transverse connection and social connection; This paper focuses on special situation of China's "pattern of difference sequence" and "family culture", defines the accurate meaning of TMT's social capital, which can be defined as executive team which could achieve internal and external resources through its members in the team. …

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