Exploring Growth and Performance in Family Firms Across Generations
Edited by Mattias Nordqvist and Thomas M. Zellweger
Chapter 5: Entrepreneurial Orientation Across Generations in Family Firms: The Role of Owner-centric Culture for Proactiveness and Autonomy
Ethel Brundin, Mattias Nordqvist and Leif Melin 5.1 INTRODUCTION The aim of this chapter is to increase the understanding of how entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is transformed by transgenerational processes in family businesses with strong cultures. Based on findings from two in-depth case studies and a theoretical framework that combines insights from the entrepreneurship and culture literatures, we describe and analyse the role of organizational culture in the family business as a key element in how EO travels over generations. More specifically, we show how the EO dimensions of autonomy and proactiveness can both foster and hamper this process and how they interact on different levels. Moving beyond conventional life cycle reasoning, we show that founder-centric cultures can return in later stages of a firm’s life cycle. We thus introduce the concept of owner-centric culture as a way of conceptualizing strong family business cultures and their impact on the EO of a business. We argue that lack of autonomy among family members belonging to the next generation and the firm’s top management constrains proactiveness and entrepreneurship in the future. By focusing on the autonomy and proactiveness dimensions in family businesses, we contribute to the EO literature by answering the call for more focused and in-depth studies that address the role of, and relationships between, single dimensions of the EO construct in specific organizational and stakeholder contexts (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996; Lyon et al., 2000). We also contribute to the EO literature by using concepts and insights from the field of organizational...
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