Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Firms
Edited by Kevin Au, Justin B. Craig and K. Ramachandran
Family businesses and business families have been studied by anthropologists, sociologists, and historians for a long time. But, as a field of research among business scholars, the study of family enterprises is young. It has, however, expanded very quickly over the last decade along all dimensions. The field started among entrepreneurship researchers because family members become involved as the entrepreneurial firm grows, and ownership, governance, and management of the business become a shared endeavor of the family over time. So, when entrepreneurship researchers started asking what happens in the long run to the successful entrepreneurial venture, they naturally began examining family firms. But family business studies are now being published by researchers in strategy, organization, finance, accounting, and economics aside from those in entrepreneurship and small business. Geographically, research in the field began mainly in North America. But studies are now being conducted and cover family businesses in all continents. In terms of education, young and future researchers are now graduating with PhDs focused on family business studies. And prominence is being given to the field through the establishment of research centers and research chairs. So far, most of the studies have been conceptual or empirical. Conceptual research has relied mainly on using mainstream theories of organization or management to explain how family involvement changes the policies, structure, behavior, and performance of the firm. This is the normal route for a new field to gain legitimacy. But, as a result, the assumptions about what goals family firms pursue and how...