Exploring Growth and Performance in Family Firms Across Generations
Edited by Mattias Nordqvist and Thomas M. Zellweger
Chapter 2: A Qualitative Research Approach to the Study of Transgenerational Entrepreneurship
Mattias Nordqvist and Thomas M. Zellweger THE NEED FOR QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND FAMILY BUSINESS STUDIES 2.1 The main idea behind the research project on Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) as a collaborative and comparative research project is to use a mixed methods strategy to investigate and understand the phenomenon of transgenerational entrepreneurship. By drawing on both quantitative and qualitative research tools and techniques, we generate a rich understanding of transgenerational entrepreneurship as a process through which families develop and use entrepreneurial mindsets, and family influenced capabilities to create new streams of entrepreneurial, financial and social value across generations. Our research strategy was to start with rather open-ended, case-oriented qualitative research and then successively move into quantitative data collection and analysis. Starting with the qualitative research phase allows for emerging findings from the case research to feed into the construction of a survey instrument for the quantitative phase (Eisenhardt, 1989). All the chapters included in this book build upon the qualitative, case-oriented research. This chapter describes the qualitative research approach. Why did we start out with a qualitative research approach? Scholars from the entrepreneurship and family business area argue that more in-depth, qualitative research is needed to better understand how entrepreneurship in the family business context relates to important social and economic value creation. Several early and pioneering studies on entrepreneurial processes in established companies (Burgelman 1983; Stopford and Baden-Fuller, 1994) revealed how in-depth research on a small number of companies leads to a detailed and rich understanding 39...
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