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Andrea Colli

Institutions, formal and informal, can be defined as stable patterns of behaviour, enforced by rules and social control. Scholars have proposed the identification between organizations and institutions. This chapter proposes a further refinement of these broad concepts in the case of family firms, defined as a peculiar form of business organization, in which one or more families stably and simultaneously enjoy ownership, control and management over the organization itself, influencing its strategies, competitive behaviour and performance goals. First, the chapter suggests that it is not possible to dismiss the influence of the ‘family dimension’ over the production of the norms and rules on which family-owned firms as organizations base their actions. Second, it claims that family firms are themselves peculiar forms of corporate organization in their turn embedded into a well-defined macro-institutional context. Third, it analyses how the two mentioned levels co-evolve.

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Andrea Colli

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Andrea Colli and Michelangelo Vasta

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Edited by Andrea Colli and Michelangelo Vasta

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Forms of Enterprise in 20th Century Italy

Boundaries, Structures and Strategies

Edited by Andrea Colli and Michelangelo Vasta

Taking an historical perspective, this unique book highlights the evolution of the many diverse forms of business enterprise, and discusses the contribution of these different types of firm to the economic growth of Italy.
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Andrea Colli and Paloma Fernandez Perez

In this chapter, the authors broadly discuss the use of historical analysis and methods in family business studies. They start by providing an overview of how (business) historians have approached the topic of family ownership. In the following section, they discuss the issue of sources and their meaning and role in historical research, discussing also in detail the advantages of what they define as ‘longitudinal’ analysis. The subsequent section discusses the qualitative versus quantitative approaches in business history, while a discussion about some current topics in family business studies that would particularly benefit from a historical approach concludes the chapter.

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Giorgia Maria D’Allura, Andrea Colli and Sanjay Goel

Family firms represent over 90 percent of businesses around the world and often play a more significant role in the economies of nations. The impact of the family on organizational behavior and firm performance is the factor that makes the difference between family and non-family firms. To illustrate how the family as a variable can be used to generate theory in a broad explanatory sense, we need to investigate both micro- and macro-levels of organizations. At a micro-level, family firms’ heterogeneity may be explained in terms of how the family behaves and intervenes in the business. At a macro-level, a possible explanation of such diversity is the institutional context, that is the general framework that influences firms’ behavior and strategy along the dimensions of culture, innovation propensity, law, governance rules, economic and financial constraints, and so on. Indeed, the family as a social unit can be considered another dimension of the institutional context. The book contributes in all these directions through theoretical and empirical chapters from different institutional contexts.

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Family Firms and Institutional Contexts

Business Models, Innovation and Competitive Advantage

Edited by Giorgia M. D’Allura, Andrea Colli and Sanjay Goel

Featuring in-depth analysis of original research, this innovative book takes an interdisciplinary, cross-national approach to the study of family firms as institutions as well as the relationship between family firms and external institutions. It demonstrates the impact of these interactions both on the firms and institutions themselves and in the wider economic context, and provides important conceptual insights as well as ideas for future research agendas.