The Yin

Document Type

Contribution to Book



Format of Original

34 p.

Publication Date



Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

Source Publication

Entrepreneurship and Family Business

Source ISSN



Are the social domains of kinship and business on balance complementary or contradictory? Do ventures that invest heavily in both – conventionally referred to as “family firms” – bear a net gain or net loss? We are scarcely the first to raise these questions. How then will we try to contribute to an answer? We try this in five ways, all of them based on previous literature. First, we develop the dichotomy of kinship and business by taking seriously the metaphor of yin and yang, merging it with the anthropological constructs of structural domains such as “domestic” and “public.” This metaphor proves to shed light on the relevant literature. Second, we provide a qualitative survey of the costs and benefits of kinship in business. Third, we summarize the empirical work that addresses the performance outcomes from family involvement. Fourth, we consider the practitioner implications of these studies. Finally, we ask if scholars are as yet in a position to answer these questions.


"The Yin," in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. Eds. Jerome Katz and Andrew C. Corbett. Greenwich, CT: Emerald, 2010: 243-276. DOI.