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Evolution of Family Business

Evolution of Family Business

Continuity and Change in Latin America and Spain

Edited by Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Lluch

Family businesses are everywhere, but there is little information regarding their growth and development. This book is one of the few to analyse the identity and evolution of the largest family businesses in Latin America and Spain. With contributions from 20 scholars from 12 different countries, the book compares the relationship of families in business within their national economies, foreign capital, migration, and politics. The authors deny the existence of a ‘Latin type’ of family capitalism in their countries, and highlight diversity, and national and regional differences.

Chapter 7: Politics and endurance of entrepreneurial families: the case of ‘presidential families’ in a Latin American economy (Colombia, 1850–2010)

Carlos Dávila

Subjects: business and management, family business, organisation studies


Family business’s relationship with politics and the state has received little attention in the literature on family businesses, which has mostly focused on endogenous over exogenous factors. However, it constitutes a key skill in family business’s performance and survival. Holding public office is one of the forms this relationship can take, and the chief of state is the highest position possible. This chapter explores this relationship in an emerging Latin American economy, Colombia. In the period studied, 1850–2010, ten of the 45 presidents of the republic have been members of six entrepreneurial families. These families have all played leading roles in Colombian life for at least 100 years. The chapter comprises five sections. The first refers to the growing interest in various disciplines and, in particular business history, on entrepreneurial families and family business as key forms of business organization in capitalist development. Departing from the current (‘Manichean’) critique of family business, the second section approaches the diverse forms of interaction of entrepreneurial actors with politics and the state. The third section presents the case of one of the presidential families; the fourth compares the six families using a series of variables (longevity/dynastic character, education, intergenerational social mobility and business diversification).

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