Family dynamics and relationships in female entrepreneurship: An exploratory study

Sunita Dewitt, Vahid Jafari-Sadeghi*, Arun Sukumar, Roopa Aruvanahalli Nagaraju, Razieh Sadraei, Fujia Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the recent emergence of China as a dominant economy and internal changes that have led to the encouragement of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial initiatives, this paper explores whether family dynamics and relationships still play an important role in women's decision to become entrepreneurs. It aims to understand whether there has been a shift in family dynamics and decision-making that supports female entrepreneurship.

Given that the purpose of the study is to understand the role of relationships and family dynamics in their career choice, this study has taken a qualitative approach and carried out interviews with fifteen Chinese female entrepreneurs to understand the role of relationships and family dynamics in their career choice.

The results note that though there are changes in family dynamics that encourage female entrepreneurship, women still find it difficult to choose entrepreneurship as a career and there are unfair expectations that are placed on them. The expectations create undue stress which directly affects their ability to carry out their professional duties. The research suggests that to foster the development of female entrepreneurship, government agencies and local government bodies should provide further access to family support services that can facilitate women's empowerment and foster entrepreneurial thinking without feeling guilty about family commitments or unfair expectations.

Recent studies on women's entrepreneurship have focused on various facets. The role of family dynamics and relationships has long been studied in the context of female entrepreneurship. In emerging economies like China, family dynamics and relationships determine whether women can choose entrepreneurship as a career choice or not. However, there is very limited research on the topic, in the geographical context of China. Hence, this paper is among pioneer research addressing family dynamics in the female entrepreneurship debate in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-644
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Business Strategy
Issue number3
Early online date11 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited. This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact


  • Family dynamics
  • Women
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Decision-making and relationships
  • China


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