Exploring Growth and Performance in Family Firms Across Generations
Edited by Mattias Nordqvist and Thomas M. Zellweger
Chapter 4: Portfolio Entrepreneurship in the Context of Family Owned Businesses
Markus Plate, Christian Schiede and Arist von Schlippe 4.1 INTRODUCTION In 1986 MacMillan posed the challenge: ‘To really learn about entrepreneurship, let’s study habitual entrepreneurs.’ Habitual entrepreneurs – unlike ‘one-shot’ or novice entrepreneurs who have entrepreneurial experience in a single business or have just started a business – have multiple entrepreneurial experiences and can be distinguished as either ‘serial’ or ‘portfolio’ entrepreneurs. Serial entrepreneurs build and then sell companies, thus usually owning only one company at a time, while portfolio entrepreneurs build or acquire numerous ventures and keep them for a longer period of time. With this challenge, MacMillan (1986) focused attention on the activities of the entrepreneur, and thus on a new unit of analysis. Scott and Rosa (1996) underlined this new focus by pointing out that firm-level analysis might lead to underestimating the prevalence of portfolio entrepreneurship. More recent studies show that the activities of portfolio entrepreneurs have a significant impact on new venture creation and, thus, on national economics; estimates are that between 12 and 20 percent of newly founded ventures are owned by portfolio entrepreneurs (Carter and Ram, 2003) Research on portfolio entrepreneurship, which is rooted in the context of small and medium-sized firms, often focuses on the habitual entrepreneur and on differences between habitual and novice entrepreneurs. Although the context of family business is acknowledged, current research does not specifically focus on the influence of a family on its firm. In addition, its focus on a certain size of firm (small or medium), certain industries (for example,...
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