Table of Contents

Firms within Families

Firms within Families

Enterprising in Diverse Country Contexts

Edited by Jennifer E. Jennings, Kimberly A. Eddleston, P. Devereaux Jennings and Ravi Sarathy

Firms within Families: Enterprising in Diverse Country Contexts investigates this ‘double embeddedness’ of business ownership and management through two illuminating sets of empirical studies. Part I focuses upon the family-oriented goal of socio-emotional wealth and its association with a firm’s strategic orientations, strategies and performance. Part II examines strategies and experiences at the work–family interface and their implications for an owner-manager’s psychological well-being. Both parts feature diverse studies from the United States, Switzerland/Germany, China, Brazil, and India.

Chapter 8: The work–family interface strategies and experiences of US owner-managers: implications for satisfaction and perceived effectiveness

Jennifer E. Jennings and P. Devereaux Jennings

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business, strategic management


This chapter focuses upon the work–family interface (WFI) strategies, experiences and outcomes of enterprising families in the United States. Enterprising families are family households comprised of at least one individual who is involved in owning and managing a business (Heck and Trent, 1999). Despite their use of different definitions, methodologies and data sources, several groups of researchers have produced relatively similar estimates of the proportion of US households engaged in entrepreneurial activity since the 1980s. Utilizing data collected from the nation’s triannual Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), for instance, Kennickell and Shack-Marquez (1992) estimated the proportion at 14.2 percent in 1983. Using primary data obtained from their own household survey, Heck and Trent (1999) estimated the proportion at 10.0 percent in 1997. Based upon data provided by the subsequent tri-annual SCF, Bucks, Kennickell and Moore (2006) estimated the proportion at 11.5 percent in 2004. And most recently, Jennings, Breitkreuz, and James (2013) combined census data with the rates of entrepreneurial activity provided by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) to estimate the proportion at 10.5 percent in 2010. At first glance these incidence rates might seem surprising low—especially considering how the US is typically portrayed within the popular press as one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world (as noted by Shane, 2008).

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