Survival and Growth Strategies on Europe’s Geographical Periphery
Edited by Helena Lenihan, Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan and Mark Hart
Chapter 5: Family-based Firms: Evidence from the Portuguese Furniture and Events Organisation Industries
Vitor Braga and Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan INTRODUCTION Daily business reality cannot be detached from the relationships established between firms, entrepreneurs and other actors involved, such as employees, customers and suppliers. These relationships gain specific characteristics when they are based on familial links. The literature on family firms acknowledges the importance of such relationships and it has produced a considerable number of writings.1 Typically, both at the time of the firms’ creation and during a few years after their coming into existence – a time frame which is the focus of the present study – family firms in Portugal are small- and medium-sized firms. Owing partly to the richness of the relationships existing in family firms, and to the relative youth of the field of family firms (Amann and Jaussaud, 2008), it is a subject where there remains many research opportunities. In the context of Portuguese society as a whole, the family has been playing a decreasing role; therefore, its importance has also diminished in the context of the firm. Social transition in Portugal, a traditional Catholic country lying at the periphery of the European Union (EU), has impacted on the entrepreneurial structure, where both traditional and modern firms (family and non-family firms) cohabit. However, the family still plays a relatively important role in business, with a special incidence in certain industries. This chapter uses two industries – the furniture and the events organisation industries – to characterise the evolution of the changing Portuguese entrepreneurial approach to business. While the furniture industry is a traditional industry,...
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