SMEs in a Globalised World

SMEs in a Globalised World

Survival and Growth Strategies on Europe’s Geographical Periphery

Edited by Helena Lenihan, Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan and Mark Hart

This insightful book shows how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from some of the traditionally less dynamic peripheral economies of the ‘old’ EU – namely Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain – have responded to the twin challenges of globalisation and industrial restructuring. Through a series of unique case studies the contributing authors discuss how these economies, and in particular the SME sector, can be transformed.

Chapter 5: Family-based Firms: Evidence from the Portuguese Furniture and Events Organisation Industries

Vitor Braga and Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, economics and finance, industrial economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


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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