Skip to main content
  • Research Article
  • Published:

Assessments on the competency model of senior managers of family firms in China


Based on the critical behavioral event interviews with 18 senior managers of family firms, the current study developed a competency model for senior managers of family firms in China. The primary findings are as follows. First, using the Critical Behavioral Event Interview (BEI) to develop the competency model of senior managers, the occurrence frequency and mean level scores of competencies are comparatively stable measures and the competencies’ maximal level scores are influenced by interview length. The study also found that both mean level scores and maximal level scores can differentiate superior senior managers from average senior managers of family firms. Second, the competency model of senior managers of family firms in China includes 11 competencies, namely authority orientation, initiative, opportunity-seizing, information seeking, organizational awareness, direction, benevolence orientation, self-control, self-confidence, self-learning, and impact and influence. Among them, nine competencies are consistent with those of the generic competency model of senior managers of Western enterprises and five with those of the generic competency model of senior managers of state-owned firms in China. Our results revealed that the authority orientation and benevolence orientation are the two competencies unique to the senior managers of family firms in China.


通过对18名家族企业高层맜理者的关键行为事件访谈, 建立了家族企业高层맜理者胜任特征模型, 初步结论是: 第一、 采用BEI关键事件访谈方法揭示高层맜理者胜任特征模型, 胜任特征的出现频次和平均等级是较为稳定的指标, 最高等级分数受到了访谈长度的影响。 研究还发现, 胜任特征的平均等级、 最高等级都能区分绩效优异的和绩效一般的家族企业高层맜 理者。 第二、 我国家族企业高层맜理者的胜任特征模型包括威权导向、 主动性、 捕捉机遇、 信息寻求、 组织意识、 指挥、 仁慈关怀、 自我控制、 自信、 自主学习、 影响他人等11项胜任特征。 其中, 与国外企业高层맜理者的通用胜任特征模型的9项相一致, 与国有企业高层맜理者的通用胜任特征模型的5项相一致。 而威权导向、 仁慈关怀是我国家族企业高层맜理者独有的胜任特征。


  • Behling O, McFillen J M (1996). A syncretic model of charismatic/transformational leadership. Group & Organization Management, 21: 163–191

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bennis W (1984). The four competencies of leadership. Training and Development Journal, 38: 14–19

    Google Scholar 

  • Farh J L, Cheng B S (2000). A cultural analysis of paternalistic leadership in Chinese organization. In: Li J T, Tsui A S, Weldon W, eds. Management and Organization in the Chinese Context. New York: St. Martin’s Press

    Google Scholar 

  • Lucia A D, Lepsinger R (1999). The Art and Science of Competency Models. San Francisco: Jossey-Bassy/Pfeiffer

    Google Scholar 

  • McClelland D C (1973). Testing for competence rather than for intelligence. American Psychologist, 28: 1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sandberg J (2000). Understanding human competence at work: an interpretative approach. Academy of Management Journal, 43: 9–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shi Kan, Wang Jicheng, Li Chaoping (2002). Assessment on competency model of senior managers. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 34: 193–199 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Shippmann J S (2000). The practice of competency modeling. Personal Psychology, 53: 703–740

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spencer L M, Spencer S M (1993). Competence at Work. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams R S (1998). Performance Management. London: International Thomson Business Press

    Google Scholar 

  • Winter D G (1991). Measuring personality at a distance: Development of an integrated system for scoring motives in running text. In: Ozer D J, Healy J M, Stewart A J, eds. Perspectives in Personality, Vol. 3: Part A: Self and emotion; Part B: Approaches to understanding lives, 59–89. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Zhong Lifeng or Shi Kan.

Additional information


Translated from Xinli Xuebao 心理学报 (Acta Psychologica Sinica), 2004, 36(1): 110–115

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zhong, L., Shi, K. Assessments on the competency model of senior managers of family firms in China. Front. Bus. Res. China 1, 544–557 (2007).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: