This study applied a qualitative and phenomenological research methodology to interview 20 women entrepreneurs from Beijing, China. The study aims to understand how their past experiences, present expectations, and future hopes have impacted their work-life integration strategies. The 20 participants were randomly selected through an expert gatekeeper and a snowball-rolling technique. In this explorative study, the researcher used Giele's (2008) life course theoretical framework and Weber and Cissna-Heath’s (2015) coping strategy instruments by asking the twenty participants to share their sociodemographic backgrounds and answer 27 life course questions covering periods of early childhood, childhood and adolescence, current adulthood, and future adulthood. The study addressed 3 research questions: (1) How do Chinese women entrepreneurs describe their life course stories impacted by identity, relational style, motivation, and adaptive style? (2) According to Chinese women entrepreneurs, what demographic factors (age, ethnicity, generation, and socioeconomics) influenced their identity, relational style, motivation, and adaptive style? (3) What are Chinese women entrepreneurs' coping strategies to integrate work, family, and personal life? The findings revealed 4 major themes with 20 influencers that shaped Chinese women entrepreneurs’ life course stories and 5 sociodemographic factors that impacted their decisions on their life choices and career achievements. Freedom, loving-kindness, wellness, and mindfulness are the core influencers to Chinese women entrepreneurs’ life course experiences. Traditional norms and family backgrounds are the primary sociodemographic factors that affect Chinese women entrepreneurs’ career paths and personal achievements. Among the 33 work-life integration strategies uncovered, the top 5 are delegating tasks, setting boundaries, prioritizing, practicing mindfulness, and relying on a reliable and supportive network.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Businesswomen—China; Work-life balance—China

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Margaret Weber