This study advances organisational learning research by exploring how and why learning patterns differ between different family businesses at different layers of China’s marketoriented transformation. The focus is the locational difference, namely the separate urban and rural environments and outcomes. Combining case studies and in-depth interviews, the study investigated how family businesses interact with their institutional environment and consequently build learning patterns. Learning initiatives undertaken by relevant and motivated family members are found to reflect a dynamic process involving personal learning, business growth, and business innovation. Family conflicts and business growth were also found to impact learning in family businesses. Implications for organisational learning are discussed at the end of the paper.
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