Returnee Entrepreneurs and the Performance Implications of Political and Business Relationships under Institutional Uncertainty

Wensong Bai, Pao Kao, Jie Wu* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Returnee entrepreneurs, despite their assumed advantages in possessing international experiences and advanced knowledge, suffer from liability of returnee due to a lack of relationships with political and business actors and experience institutional uncertainty in the home market as they move across different institutional environments. This study investigates how returnee entrepreneurs can strategically utilize relationships with political and business actors to achieve better performance and the conditional effect of institutional uncertainty. Based on a survey of 200 Chinese returnee entrepreneurs, we find that business relationships play a dominant role in influencing business performance and that this role is even stronger under institutional uncertainty. Political relationships support the formation of business relationships and are associated with business performance via the mediation of business relationships. Our study contributes to developing a nuanced understanding of the complementary effect of political and business relationships on returnee venture performance in emerging economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date23 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the reviewers, the guest editor Bradley Barnes, and the editor in chief Naveen Donthu for the constructive comments. We are grateful with the financial support from the Broman Foundation for Research and Entrepreneurship, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71772165), and the National Key Project of Philosophy and Social Science from Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (Grant No. 17JZD018).


  • Returnee Entrepeneur
  • Political Relationships
  • Business Relationships
  • Business performance
  • Institutitonal Uncertainty
  • Emerging market


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