What We Know and What We Need to Know
Edited by Alain Fayolle
Chapter 9: Family entrepreneurship: what we know, what we need to know
For the past decades, the fields of entrepreneurship and family business research have been the object of numerous studies, regularly published and communicated at conferences and in scientific journals. While entrepreneurship and family business have been studied as two separate domains with their own dedicated research conferences and academic journals, some special issues have been devoted to studying the intersection of both concepts in an attempt to generate a third construct, that of family entrepreneurship (Poutziouris et al., 2004; Heck and Mishra, 2008; Fayolle and Bégin, 2009; Uhlaner et al., 2010). This construct seems all the more relevant since many family businesses act entrepreneurially by exploiting new opportunities (Stevenson and Jarillo, 1990; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000) or by adopting strategies and practices underpinned by risk-taking, proactiveness, innovativeness, autonomy, and competitive aggressiveness (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996). By the same token, entrepreneurship can be considered as the foundation of the family business (Chua et al., 2004), thus bridging these two interrelated constructs. Moreover, it cannot be denied that the family influences the economic and social orientations of its members (Matthews and Moser, 1995; Scott and Twomey, 1988; Kirkwood, 2007, 2009), so, we may join Rogoff and Heck (2003) in stating that family is 'the oxygen that feeds the fire of entrepreneurship'. Based on this premise, one may expect the scientific documentation on family entrepreneurship to be extensive, or at least sufficient to orient and fuel future research and to inspire practitioners and leaders.
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