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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 10: Between power and the market: an approach to the historical evolution of large family businesses in Spain in the twentieth century

Paloma Fernández Pérez and Pablo D'az Morlán

Subjects: business and management, family business, organisation studies


Family-controlled businesses dominate Spanish business history, but no official statistics exist, nor have long-term studies using comparable and rigorous methodology ever been done. This chapter is a pioneering contribution, gathering together indicators that allow the documentation of some historical transformations in Spanish family capitalism between the mid twentieth century and early twenty-first century. These transformations are particularly found in organizational structures and growth strategies adapted to technological and political changes and the new opening of markets. We also provide evidence of continuities, such as the predominance of activities related to services and the enduring specialization of some families in industrial sectors like construction and auxiliary industries. The work is organized chronologically into three significant phases of Spanish economic history: the first third of the twentieth century, with its industrial consolidation and slowing down; the Franco era (1939–75); and the last phase, with crisis, the entry into Europe and accelerated internationalization (1976 until the present). In each phase, we identify the families that have formed the so-called elite of Spanish family capitalism. Also, we provide for each phase the indicators of the evolution of the largest family businesses, be it decline or expansion, analysing the main exogenous and endogenous determinants that would explain why some businesses endure while others end up disappearing or transforming themselves.

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