Continuity and Change in Latin America and Spain
Edited by Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Lluch
Chapter 4: Large businesses and entrepreneurial families in Mexico
This chapter presents a brief explanation of the prominent entrepreneurial families of Mexico in the twentieth century, families that were also the driving force behind important companies still in operation today. It will not deal with the individual family business nor will it discuss what is usually understood by family business (Chrisman et al., 2005, 2010; Chua et al., 1999; Fernández Pérez, 2003, 2012; Sharma, 2004, among others). What follows is an analysis of the developmental path of some of the most powerful and long-standing expressions of Mexican kinship, which are based on the following concepts: 1. The positioning of large business in the arena of peripheral societies, whose dynamics were not – and are still not today – the same as those of developed societies. There is no reason for the size of a company, in its indigenous form, to be similar in the 1950s to that of General Motors or Siemens. 2. Large businesses in societies such as Mexico were interlinked with two complementary realities: the entrepreneurial family and the business group. Their characteristics, behaviour and dimensions (assets, number of employees, level of turnover) must be seen in the context of the family-group pairing. The empirical evidence shows that groups and their mother companies were born and survived through links with entrepreneurial families. In other words, kinship cores connected their surnames to other relevant families, thus, generation after generation could succeed each other in business.
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