Family EnterprisesMy doctoral research (2000-2003) explored the persistence of family-controlled enterprises in Singapore and other fast-developing economies of Southeast Asia. These enterprises were typically formed by entrepreneurs facing extreme economic and social challenges. A principal finding of this research was in the closely bound nature of “extended” kin groups in family-controlled firms with the evolution of the economy and society of several ethnic Chinese-dominant states in Southeast Asia. I have continued with this research of family and kin relations in the development of Southeast Asian states by exploring strategic growth processes among family and other closely-controlled organizations. I am interested in the ways that entrepreneurs in these organizations draw on their challenges, without merely overcoming them, by creating and developing ventures that leverage highly constrained resources.

I have published comparative studies of closely-controlled enterprises in East Asia and Europe in book chapters and international management journals. I have drawn on data from primary (conversations) and secondary (private and public archives) sources, and I have used comparative textual and statistical research methods within a largely qualitative, exploratory research framework.

My present research draws on unusual, deep access to family members and non-family employees of an iconic firm with a global brand name, Cadbury, that was family owned for nearly 150 years. Corporate and private archives of Cadbury between 1969 and 2000 have also been researched. In this work, my co-authors and I are interested in the nature of the management and influence of Cadbury family managers who continued to head up the firm for 31 years despite selling most of their shareholdings in 1969. Under the guidance of two well-known members of the family, Cadbury grew to become a constituent FTSE 100 member and a repeat winner of the accolade of one of the most admired firms firms in Britain.

Two journal articles on the phenomenon of Cadbury’s professional family management during the 31 “golden” years of the firm’s development between 1969 and 2000 are in preparation. My collaborators are Natalia Vershinina of Audencia Business School, France, and Matthew Cadbury, an academic who is a fifth generation member of the Cadbury family. Matthew also worked for many years as a senior manager in Cadbury Schweppes plc.

Furthermore, under my theme of closely-controlled enterprises, I am interested in the ways in which talented individuals, from late-teenage school leavers to early career academics, are selected and then nurtured systematically to realize their potential. Here I have published a journal article recently (with Terri Kim of UEL & UCL) on the challenges of professional mobility facing a number of East Asian academics in the UK (Kim & Ng, 2019, referenced below). The article also explores and discusses how our academic-respondents have been able to grow and develop by overcoming their employment and workplace challenges.

On the career development of talented pre-university students, I am conducting novel research, in collaboration with Terri Kim & a former Scholar of the US Marshall Scholarship Program, on the ways in which US students are selected and developed under this Program. Apart from unusually deep access to many notable recipients of funding under the Marshall Program, including entrepreneurs and senior public officers in the US and UK, this research draws on archival documents on the selection process accumulated over the 66 unbroken years of the Program since 1953.

My interest in the Marshall Program is based on its unusual success in developing the potential of US citizens from a wide range of economic and social backgrounds. Similar to my Cadbury research, the research on Marshall Scholars seeks to understand how recipients of funding from the Program have been able to overcome their respective economic and social challenges and achieve their goals and potential through the Program.

A further strain of my research on closely-controlled enterprises involves state-owned firms and sovereign wealth funds. Here I have published comparative studies in international journals on the nature and strategic investment processes of sovereign wealth funds in several developed and developing economies. A focus of my data access and collection has been on the investment decision-making processes of sovereign wealth funds that are owned and controlled by the Singapore government (see Ng, 2010; Ng & Scully, 2013, in my References section directly below).


References (Closely-controlled Enterprises):

Kim, T. & Ng, W. (2019). ‘Ticking the “Other” Box: Positional Identities of East Asian Academics in UK Universities, Internationalization and Diversification’, Policy Reviews in Higher Education, 3(1), pp. 3-27. DOI:

Ng, W. & Al-Shaghroud, M. (2018). ‘Coping with Recession in Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Social Process of Collective Sensing for Strategic Acquisitions’, Journal of Small Business Strategy, 28(2), pp. 16-32. DOI:

Dessi, C., Ng, W. & Floris, M. & Cabras, S. (2015). ‘How Small Family-owned Businesses May Compete with Retail Superstores: Tacit Knowledge and Perceptive Concordance among Owner-managers and Customers’, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 21(4), pp. 668-689.

Ng, W. & Rieple, A. (2014). ‘The Role of Networks in Entrepreneurial Performance: New Answers to Old Questions?’ Editorial Introduction to the Special Issue on ‘The Role of Networks in Entrepreneurial Performance’ (Guest Editors: Ng, W. & Rieple, A.), International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 10(3), pp. 447-455.

Ng, W. & Scully, D. (2013). ‘Making Sense of Sovereign Wealth Funds: Entrepreneurial and Political Wish-images in “Building for the Future” of China and Singapore’.  Special Issue on ‘Constellations of Past and Present: Spectres, Ruins and Chimeras’, Management & Organizational History, 8(1), pp. 77-90.

Scarpati F. & Ng, W. (2013). ‘Chasing the Deal with the Money: Measuring Required Risk Premium and Expected Abnormal Returns of Private Equity Funds to Maximize their Internal Rate of Return’, Risk, Governance & Control: Financial Markets & Institutions, 3(3), pp. 56-69.

Scarpati, F. & Ng, W. (2013). ‘What Really Drives Risk-Premium and Abnormal Returns in Private Equity Funds? A New Perspective’, Journal of Private Equity, 16(4) (Fall), pp. 8-20.

Roberts, J. & Ng, (2012). W. ‘Against Economic (Mis)conceptions of the Individual: Constructing Financial Agency in the Credit Crisis’. Special Issue on ‘Crisis, Critique and the Construction of Normality: Exploring Finance Capitalism’s Discursive Shifts’, Culture and Organisation, 18(2), pp. 91-105.

Ng, W. & Keasey, K. (2010). ‘Growing Beyond Smallness: How Do Small, Closely-controlled Firms Survive?’, International Small Business Journal, 28(6), pp. 620-630.

Ng, W. (2010). ‘The Evolution of Sovereign Wealth Funds: What May We Learn from Singapore’s Temasek Holdings?’, Special Issue on Sovereign Wealth Funds, Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, 18(1), pp. 6-14.

Ng, W. & Thorpe, R. (2010). ‘Not Another Study of Great Leaders: Entrepreneurial Leadership in a Mid-Sized Family Firm for its Further Growth and Development’. Special Issue on Family Businesses, The International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 16(5), pp. 457-476.

Ng, W. & Roberts, J. (2007). ‘“Helping the Family”: The Mediating Role of Outside Directors in Ethnic Chinese Family Firms’, Human Relations, 60(2), pp. 285-314.

Ng, W. & Mehta, S. (2007). ‘Corporate Governance in India: Why should UK Managers be Interested?’,The Financial Regulator, 12(2), pp. 51-58.

Ng, W. & De Cock, C. (2002). ‘Battle in the Boardroom: A Discursive Perspective’, Journal of Management Studies, 39(1), pp. 23-49.