Continuity and Change in Latin America and Spain
Edited by Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Lluch
Chapter 5: Brazilian companies and business groups from a historical perspective
According to Dalla Costa (2009), family businesses represent around 90 per cent of economic entities in Brazil. The Melhores e Maiores report from the journal Exame (2010) indicates that of the large corporations that are active in this country, more than 50 per cent are family businesses. Nevertheless, this business structure has a reduced survival rate in the long term. According to the consultants Hoft, only 33 per cent of the economic entities reached the second generation and only 4 per cent the fourth (Amorim, 2012, p. 85). That said, it is important to study the evolution of the principal Brazilian family businesses in the twentieth century, in an attempt to identify and understand the actions and strategies that allowed them to survive over time. In this sense, we will try to present a broad vision of these institutions through an analysis of the most representative firms in the periods in question. In the available literature there is no concensus on the most precise concept of family business; as underlined by Dalla Costa (2009) and Chua et al. (1999), there are multiple and various definitions for this type of productive unit. The concept developed by Chua et al. (1999) is the one best suited to the aims of the authors: it describes the objects of study as organizations founded on a coalition of one or more families with the intention of ensuring that the company be managed according to a shared vision.
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