Continuity and Change in Latin America and Spain
Edited by Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Lluch
Chapter 7: Politics and endurance of entrepreneurial families: the case of ‘presidential families’ in a Latin American economy (Colombia, 1850–2010)
Family business’s relationship with politics and the state has received little attention in the literature on family businesses, which has mostly focused on endogenous over exogenous factors. However, it constitutes a key skill in family business’s performance and survival. Holding public office is one of the forms this relationship can take, and the chief of state is the highest position possible. This chapter explores this relationship in an emerging Latin American economy, Colombia. In the period studied, 1850–2010, ten of the 45 presidents of the republic have been members of six entrepreneurial families. These families have all played leading roles in Colombian life for at least 100 years. The chapter comprises five sections. The first refers to the growing interest in various disciplines and, in particular business history, on entrepreneurial families and family business as key forms of business organization in capitalist development. Departing from the current (‘Manichean’) critique of family business, the second section approaches the diverse forms of interaction of entrepreneurial actors with politics and the state. The third section presents the case of one of the presidential families; the fourth compares the six families using a series of variables (longevity/dynastic character, education, intergenerational social mobility and business diversification).
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