Theoretical Perspectives on Family Businesses

Theoretical Perspectives on Family Businesses

Edited by Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Mattias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto

Family business has become an increasingly studied field over the last decade and forms one of the fastest growing research areas today. The uniqueness of family businesses is the interaction between two systems; the family and the business systems, leading to specific characteristics that we rarely see in other types of businesses. In order to understand the interaction between the family and the business systems, researchers have adopted a diverse range of theories from different fields. The contributors provide a thorough discussion of thirteen theoretical perspectives that have been used in family business research to a varying degree. Each chapter introduces a theory, demonstrates its previous application in family business research and offers compelling ideas for future research that could contribute to both the family business field and the original theory behind it. This book aims to spark new insights for researchers and PhD students in the field of family business, and is also a good introduction for researchers who are new to the field.

Chapter 2: Organisational ecology and the family business

Giuseppe Criaco

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business, organisational behaviour, organisation studies


Organisational ecology has long studied the survival of organisations. However, few studies have focused on how such perspective can be applied to investigate similar topics in distinct organisational forms, such as family businesses. This book chapter thus attempts to apply an organisational ecology perspective to the study of family businesses. More specifically, it explores how such perspective can inform research on the survival of family businesses. Special attention is given to environmental determinants conceptualised at the industry level. Keywords: organisational ecology, family business, survival, environments, industries

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