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