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Entrepreneurship and family firms : growth and survival

By Mervyn J. Morris


Family businesses dominate in a majority of economies (Astrachan and Shanker, 2003; Chrisman, Chua, and Sharma, 2005; Morck and Yeung, 2004). As entrepreneurial activities have been shown to be central to economic growth it is essential that family businesses, irrespective of ownership patterns, not only survive but also grow thus growing the economy overall. While a great deal is known about entrepreneurial activities and a body of knowledge is being developed in relation to entrepreneurial processes in family firms, more needs to be understood in relation to the dynamics of entrepreneurial activities at the individual family firm level. One area of particular interest is the dynamics within the business and the family and how these dynamics impact upon entrepreneurial activities. Specifically how relationships between and among family members engaged in the business can interact with professional non-family member senior executives. The senior executives can actively use their positions in such ways that initiatives suggested by family members are less successful than they might be. This paper addresses how ‘family’ aspects of a business can assist or impede the entrepreneurial activities of individuals. It takes into account some of the unique features of family businesses – such as the importance of ‘familiness’ as a competitive advantage; the direct links between ownership and control of a business and the recognition (often implicit) that individuals in families do make a difference to how the business functions (Habbershon and Williams, 1999, Sharma, 2004; and Tokarczyk, Hansen Green, and Down, 2007). This emphasis on individuals in families fits well with the idea of entrepreneur as individual, as expressed by Schumpeter (1934), Baumol et al (2007). The theoretical approach that adopted to explore the dynamics of processes occurring within family firms is structuration theory combined with a theory of embeddeness (Dacin, Ventresca and Beal, 1999; Giddens, 1979, 1984, Jack and Anderson, 2002; and Sarason, Dean and Dillard, 2006)

Topics: 150304 Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Family Firms, Growth and Survival
Publisher: Philosophy Documentation Center
Year: 2009
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