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Social embedding as a solution to a control problem? Evidence from Vietnamese small business* - page 29 / 52





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Our 447 sampled enterprises had a total of 1,315 employees who were not immediate

family members. The number of employees ranged from one (the minimum required for

inclusion in the sample) to 103 with a mean of 3.04. Table Five shows detailed information

about a sample of 1,077 of those employees. Males outnumbered females. The employees

ranged in age from ten years to 65 with an average of 26 years. The number of years of

schooling averaged nine – approximately one year less than that of the owners but ranged

from no schooling to 16 years. The overwhelming majority of employees were paid a cash

wage of the market rate and worked an average of 54 hours per week. Twelve of the

employees (all silk weavers) worked in their own homes, rather than in the place of

employment. Many of the employees were relatives or came recommended by someone but

one-fourth of the employees had no previous relationship with the employer.

Employees were fairly well integrated into the enterprise – often socializing and

resting at the place of business and eating in the enterprise or with household members or

other employees outside. Interestingly, relatives were by far the most heavily embedded into

the business. Those with no previous relationship to the owner were less likely to engage in

any of those actions. Some of the employees (288, 27 percent of those for whom we have

detailed data), while not being part of the owner’s immediate family, lived in his or her

household.6 This is in and of itself a strong indicator of social embeddedness. Not

surprisingly, the live-in employees were also heavily embedded in terms of the four key

common shared activities. Although there is little variation in the degree of social

embeddedness among those living in the household (except for eating out with other

employees), the variation in degree of embeddedness among the types of relationship persists

6 We coded someone as living in the household if they spent 120 or more hours per week at the enterprise.


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