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Title: An investigation of entrepreneurs' ethical values, social insurance, and start-up success in China
Author: Shiu, Ka Wai
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 0279
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This research aims to investigate ethical values, social insurance, and start-up success in China. Recent research into entrepreneurship, eg, Woiceshyn (2011), focuses on the relationship between ethics and the success of entrepreneurship, and proposes that an entrepreneur’s ethical values are a critical factor for his or her entrepreneurial success. However this critical success factor (“CSF”) belief has not been fully explored in scholarly discussion, in the context of the entrepreneurial world. The CSF belief is based on rational egoism, which assumes ethics as a necessary guidance to long-term self-interest such as success in business. This thesis is intended to examine the validity of the CSF belief through elaborating a mediation model of how entrepreneurs’ ethical values affect their start-up success in China. I will test whether or not an entrepreneur’s ethical values (familism, integrity, work ethics, anti-individualism, and emphases on reputation, trust, and reciprocities) are related to his or her start-up performance (in terms of growth percentage of total incomes/revenues) and success (in terms of survival time), through the mediation of his/her practices of social insurance to employees in start-up. I will draw on existing researches on the ethical decision-making of entrepreneurs, and in particular on Solymossy and Masters (2002), to propose a model of social insurance decision-making by small business entrepreneurs. I suggest some ways (ie, the need for the integration of cash or financial considerations, ethical tolerance, technological impact, ethical implementation, and the relationship to performance and success) in which the social insurance framework of entrepreneurs may differ systematically from that of other businesses. The investigation of the social insurance decision-making model shows that Chinese entrepreneurs tend to follow rational or material (short term or long term), ideological and reputational criteria, when making social insurance decisions. However, cash or financial considerations seem to stand out but not to dominate ethical concerns with respect to their impact on social insurance decisions. Aside from the considerations of cash or financials, once the confounding effects of ethical tolerance and technological impact are controlled, ethical values have a true effect on social insurance decisions. Furthermore, social insurance implementation can be influenced as a result of ethical considerations in small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”) overall. My investigation has demonstrated that ethical values are related to social insurance decisions. An in-depth analysis of the research results has suggested that entrepreneurs’ ethical values influence the performance or success of a new venture. Meanwhile, some less ethical implementation actions, eg, circumventing and escaping, and pushing for a minimum standard of social insurance have significant but negative correlations with the growth rate, and/or with survival time. The mediation effects are therefore dependent on the implementation conditions. The analytic procedures have revealed a mediation model: the ethical value of work ethics (rejecting others’ indolence and wallowing in luxuries and pleasures) are positively related to the start-ups’ survival time, by means of not trying to lower insurance premiums through reducing employees’ total wages. Future studies will explore this mediation model. My investigation has, to certain extent, validated the argument that entrepreneurs’ ethical values are a critical factor in the success of entrepreneurship, although I acknowledge that this mediation model will need future research in order to be fully justified.
Supervisor: Yao, Xinzhong ; Pesque Cela, Vanesa ; Knoerich, Jan Michael ; Lin, Kun-Chin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available