Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Family Business, Second Edition

Handbook of Research on Family Business, Second Edition

Elgar original reference

Edited by Kosmas X. Smyrnios, Panikkos Z. Poutziouris and Sanjay Goel

During the previous decade, the multi-disciplinary field of family business has advanced significantly in terms of advances in theory, development of sophisticated empirical instruments, systematic measurement of family business activity, use of alternative research methodologies and deployment of robust tools of analysis. This second edition of the Handbook of Research on Family Business presents important research and conceptual developments across a broad range of topics. The contributors – notable researchers in the field – explore the frontiers of knowledge in family business entrepreneurship and stimulate critical thinking, enriching the repository of theoretical frameworks and methodologies.

Chapter 20: Entrepreneurial learning in the family management group: a social organizational learning perspective

Elias Hadjielias, Eleanor Hamilton and Carole Howorth

Subjects: business and management, family business, strategic management


Entrepreneurship within the family business context can be best understood by moving beyond the individual entrepreneur to consider the joint practices of a number of individuals. Collective units, therefore, offer a more valid representation of the reality for family businesses, providing an opportunity to understand the joint contribution of a number of business members in family business entrepreneurship (Dyer and Handler, 1994; Fitzgerald and Muske, 2002; Habbershon and Pistrui, 2002; Kellermanns and Eddleston, 2006). Since entrepreneurs tend to develop their skills and understanding of entrepreneurship through a process of entrepreneurial learning (Rae, 2000; Minniti and Bygrave, 2001; Cope, 2003, 2005), it is important to understand how this learning takes place within a context where co-participation in entrepreneurship is apparent. Organizational learning perspectives, drawing upon theories such as situated learning (Brown and Duguid, 1991; Hamilton, 2005, 2011), social capital (Granovetter, 1985; Burt, 2000; Lin, 1999; Adler and Kwon, 2002; Taylor and Thorpe, 2004; Andersson et al., 2005), and activity theory (Engeström, 1987; Engeström and Middleton, 1996; Engeström, 1999) offer an opportunity for exploring entrepreneurial learning practices within the family business context under a collectivist lens. We term this ‘collective entrepreneurial learning’ and argue that it is a central element of collective entrepreneurial practices within family businesses.

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