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Social embedding as a solution to a control problem? Evidence from Vietnamese small business* - page 30 / 52

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among those who do not live in the household. Contrary to the expectations of theory of

enforceable trust but consistent with the insurance hypothesis, prior social relationships lead

to increased embeddedness in activities.

(Table Six about here)

The surveyed enterprises operate in a wide variety of fields. Most are small; some are

quite large. Accordingly, those working in those businesses engaged in a very diverse set of

tasks. We found a total of 156 separate simplified job descriptions.7 Table Six shows the

simplified job descriptions for family members in the household and for other employees that

were held by more than one person in each category. While some of the job descriptions are

quite specific, such as loading and unloading rice, several are quite broad with many workers

being described simply as “worker” or “assistant.” Sales and making something were the

most common general functions. Both descriptions mask tremendous differences in the

actual work across sectors, however. In some businesses sales work requires little more than

being present on the premises. In others, extensive knowledge of production techniques and

cost are needed. Despite the several welders, mechanics, and technicians, many of the job

descriptions carry little indication of a high level of skill. Some of the job descriptions

connote carrying responsibility, such as the supervision of others or the handling of funds.

Those job descriptions seem to be more heavily represented among the family members.

That appearance is only partially correct.

(Table Seven about here)

Table Seven shows that the jobs carrying responsibility are concentrated quite heavily

among the owners and their spouses. Of course, these brief job descriptions do not capture

7 Our job descriptions modify only minor spelling and phrasing variations in the original responses. They include all denotations and connotations of tasks. The bottom of Table Five contains categorizations of the tasks performed by employees.

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