Chapter 16: Women in family business: three generations of research
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In the family business context, women often play an important role in leading families and businesses into new business contexts. However, a number of reasons are offered in the literature for the scarcity of women in top leadership positions. These reasons include stereotyping, which leads to resistance to women’s leadership, discriminatory treatment that contributes to differential outcomes for men and women, the challenges of dealing with persistent double-binds, and the difficulties associated with work and family integration. Jimenez (2009) reviewed 48 articles, 23 books and three doctoral dissertations published since 1985 on the involvement of women in family business. She identified two generations of contributions. The first generation of contributions in the 1990s (e.g. Dumas, 1989; Salganicoff, 1990) analyzed ‘the difficulties or obstacles that women have found when joining their family firms or on the lack of recognition for their work’ (Jiminez, 2009, p. 53). These contributions also highlighted the positive interaction between the family businesses and women. Research pointed to how family businesses may help women gain the confidence and skills necessary for them to assume leadership roles.

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