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Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China

Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China

A Case Study of the Influence of Christian Ethics on Business Life

By Joy Kooi-Chin Tong

Inspired by Max Weber’s thesis on the Protestant ethic, this volume examines the influence of Christianity on overseas Chinese entrepreneurs working in China during its transition from a centrally-planned economy toward a market economy under Communist rule.

Paperback, 180 Pages

ISBN:9781783080564

January 2013

£25.00, $40.00

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents

About This Book

Inspired by Max Weber’s thesis on the Protestant ethic, ‘Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China’ sets out to understand the role and influence of Christianity on Overseas Chinese businesspeople working in contemporary China. Through its in-depth interviews and participant observations (involving 60 Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the United States), the text discusses how Christianity has come to fulfill an increasingly visible and dynamic function in the country, most notably as a new source of business morality.

Recognizing that China’s economic transition toward a market-oriented economy was not initiated by Christians (or indeed any other religious group), this volume demonstrates the importance of exploring the impact of religious ethics on economics at micro and organizational levels, via the subjective understandings of individuals and small businesses. Significant but often neglected facets of Weber’s thesis arise as a result. Of key importance is the issue of gender differences within the Christian ethos – a crucial aspect of the Protestant ethic that has yet to be systematically studied, but which offers great potential to enhance our understanding of Weber’s work. As a result, the text’s novel application of Weberian sociology to the context of contemporary China can be seen to offer a double return, elucidating both the theory and its subject.

Reviews

“Exploring relationships between Christianity and Chinese entrepreneurial endeavors, this meticulously researched study will be an informative, significant and engrossing book for anyone with the slightest interest in religion, economic development and/or contemporary China. I’m sure Weber would have enjoyed it.” —Professor Eileen Barker, London School of Economics


“Joy Tong not only captures the dynamism of the Chinese economy today, but also the importance of Christianity in China as a social force and an economic driver. ‘Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China’ is a fascinating case study of a compellingly interesting topic.” —Professor Jack Barbalet, Head of Sociology, Hong Kong Baptist University


“This well-written and carefully argued book deepens the research on Weber’s Protestant ethic thesis, creatively examining the impacts of religious motivations, ethics and networks on the economic behaviors of Overseas Chinese businesspeople in China, and challenging the presumptuous but unproven claims of Confucian values for the economic miracles in East Asia.” —Professor Fenggang Yang, Purdue University

Author Information

Joy Kooi-Chin Tong is Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University, and was previously a postdoctoral research associate at the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, USA.

Series

Key Issues in Modern Sociology

China in the 21st Century

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; List of Tables and Figures; Chapter 1 Introduction: Studying Christian Ethics and Business Life in Post-1978 China; Chapter 2 Religion and Economic Life: The Protestant Ethic and Max Weber’s Legacy; Chapter 3 Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Post-1978 China (Shanghai): Business, Faith and Ethics; Chapter 4 Religious Motivation and Entrepreneurial Spirit; Chapter 5 Business–Faith Integration: Three Types; Chapter 6 Communities of Faith: Fellowships for Overseas Chinese Christian Businesspeople in Shanghai; Chapter 7 Female Entrepreneurs: Four Stories; Chapter 8 Conclusion and Research Implications; Bibliography; Index

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