This paper takes 108 articles related to copreneurship retrieved from CNKI and Web of Science as samples to analyze the research status of copreneurship from three aspects: concept definition, research context, and future prospects.
The findings are as follows: Firstly, this paper systematically sorts out the concept of “copreneurship” from the three perspectives of ownership and management rights, entrepreneurial participation, and dynamic process, distills five characteristics of typical copreneurship (including marriage or marriage-like relationship, first-generation copreneurs, full-time participation, co-ownership, and joint management and decision-making), and distinguishes and analyzes the differences and connections between the related concepts of copreneurship. It lays a foundation for the subsequent comparative study of copreneurship, family business, and family entrepreneurial team.
Secondly, on the basis of generalizing the main theories and methods, the research context of copreneurship is summarized from three aspects: driving factors, process research, and influence outcomes: (1) The driving factors of copreneurship are presented from different levels of individual, family, firm, and society. (2) The research on the copreneurial process includes the static structural perspective, which focuses on the power structure of firms and the family structure of couples, and the dynamic process perspective, which emphasizes copreneurial activities and relationship evolution. (3) Copreneurship has an impact on individual (e.g. spouse satisfaction, personal tension), family (e.g. family income, marital satisfaction, work-family balance), firm (e.g. firm performance, innovation and strategy), and society (e.g. social responsibility).
Thirdly, the potential directions of future research include that: (1) For driving factors, compare the differences between copreneurship, individual entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship, and construct a multi-level driving mechanism for copreneurship. (2) For process research, analyze the power allocation strategy in different situations of copreneurial business, explore the impact of changes in family structure on copreneurial activities, and reveal the synergy mechanism of dual relationship and the management strategy of role relationship between copreneurs. (3) For influence outcomes, explore the social impact of copreneurship, carry out cross-level research on the impact of copreneurship, and analyze the boundary conditions for contradictions among different impact results of copreneurship. (4) For theory and method, construct Chinese indigenous theories of copreneurship which are suitable for the Chinese context, and make up for the inadequacy of single quantitative method in domestic research by using the qualitative method.
Combined with the cross-field and multi-level characteristics of copreneurship, this paper constructs an integrated research framework of copreneurship, which aims to attract scholars’ theoretical attention to the phenomenon of copreneurship, and provides a new direction for promoting the early research of copreneurship and the formation of family firms in the Chinese context.