Firms within Families
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Firms within Families

Enterprising in Diverse Country Contexts

Edited by Jennifer E. Jennings, Kimberly A. Eddleston, P. Devereaux Jennings and Ravi Sarathy

Firms within Families: Enterprising in Diverse Country Contexts investigates this ‘double embeddedness’ of business ownership and management through two illuminating sets of empirical studies. Part I focuses upon the family-oriented goal of socio-emotional wealth and its association with a firm’s strategic orientations, strategies and performance. Part II examines strategies and experiences at the work–family interface and their implications for an owner-manager’s psychological well-being. Both parts feature diverse studies from the United States, Switzerland/Germany, China, Brazil, and India.
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Chapter 9: The family-to-business strategies and experiences of owner-managers in Switzerland and Germany: implications for personal well-being

Philipp Sieger, Melanie Ganter and Thomas Zellweger


The primary purpose of this chapter is to shed light on the family-to-business strategies, experiences and outcomes of ‘enterprising families’ in Switzerland and Germany; that is, of family households comprised of at least one individual who is involved in owning and managing a business. The second objective is to place our regional findings in an international context, particularly by comparing them with those obtained from a similar study conducted in the US. The significance of entrepreneurs and family businesses for Germans-peaking economies is widely recognized in academia and in practice. A recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, for example, revealed that approximately 18 percent of the national workforce in Switzerland and 16 percent in Germany were engaged in entrepreneurial activities in 2012 (Xavier, Kelly, Kew, Herrington, and Vorderwülbecke, 2012). Moreover, national studies reveal that family businesses are the prevailing organizational form, constituting approximately 90 percent of all firms in these two countries (Frey, Halter, Klein, and Zellweger, 2004; Gottschalk et al., 2011). Despite this dominant role of entrepreneurship in general, and family businesses in particular, little is known about the effect of business ownership on family life, or vice versa, within these two countries.

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