Exploring Growth and Performance in Family Firms Across Generations
Edited by Mattias Nordqvist and Thomas M. Zellweger
Chapter 8: How Much and What Kind of Entrepreneurial Orientation is Needed for Family Business Continuity?
Thomas M. Zellweger1, Philipp Sieger and Corinne Muehlebach 8.1 INTRODUCTION One of the key concepts in entrepreneurship research is entrepreneurial orientation (EO), which describes the attitudes, values and beliefs of entrepreneurial organizations that tend to engage in strategy making characterized by actively pursuing opportunities, taking risks and innovation (Dess et al., 1997; Lumpkin and Dess, 1996; Miller, 1983). EO comprises five salient dimensions (innovativeness, risk taking, autonomy, competitive aggressiveness and proactiveness; Lumpkin and Dess, 1996). These dimensions are separate but related constructs; that is, the degree of each dimension may vary, even though the constructs are positively correlated (Nordqvist, 2008). They have received wide support in entrepreneurship research and have proven to be very prolific as antecedents to the success of small and mediumsized businesses, often recently founded and fast-growing (Wiklund and Shepherd, 2003). EO, which is one of the main building blocks of the transgenerational entrepreneurship research model underlying this chapter, is also viewed as an important factor that contributes to organizational success in more general terms (Kellermanns and Eddleston, 2006). Based on recent calls by researchers to apply concepts established in entrepreneurship theory in the family business context in order to advance both fields of research, this chapter examines to what degree the EO construct explains business activity of transgenerational firms. In particular, we challenge the fundamental claim by entrepreneurship scholars that the more entrepreneurial the firm, the higher it scores in the five EO dimensions and the more successful it should be over time. Indeed, a wide...
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