Exploring Growth and Performance in Family Firms Across Generations
Edited by Mattias Nordqvist and Thomas M. Zellweger
Chapter 6: Propelled into the Future: Managing Family Firm Entrepreneurial Growth Despite Generational Breakthroughs within Family Life Stage
6. Propelled into the future: managing family firm entrepreneurial growth despite generational breakthroughs within family life stage Alain Bloch, Alexandra Joseph and Michel Santi 6.1 INTRODUCTION Family businesses have a unique opportunity to mix family expectations and business constraints. Existing literature focuses on cases where succession is (or should be) planned and organized across generations; that is, where family and firm life stages are smoothly linked. In our two case studies the founder (that is, father) dies at a young age, leaving unprepared, and quite young, successors. The two families followed similar stages in perpetuating the father’s legacy. Surprisingly, this loss has increased entrepreneurial performance; more surprisingly, both families believe that they are now in a better position than when founders and successors must deal directly with each other. Our goal is to understand the impact of family generational breakthroughs on entrepreneurial growth of the family firm. If maintaining a transgenerational family firm is not an easy task, it is even more challenging to maintain entrepreneurship across family generations. Habbershon and Pistrui (2002) use ‘enterprising families’ to describe business families that strive for transgenerational entrepreneurship and long-term wealth creation through new ventures, innovation and strategic renewal. In this context, analysis shifts from the conventional firm-level unit to that of the family. Yet, according to Martin and Lumpkin (2003), as later generations are involved in the management of family businesses, entrepreneurial orientation (EO), representing the materialization and support of this transgenerational entrepreneurship at the firm level, generally decreases, while family orientation,...
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