Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Growth and Performance
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Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Growth and Performance

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Hans Landström, Hans Crijns, Eddy Laveren and David Smallbone

This book provides an invaluable, state-of-the-art overview of current European research in the field of entrepreneurship. It focuses on four themes, each of which illustrates a key dimension in the overall theme: • entrepreneurs and their role in entrepreneurship • entrepreneurship in family businesses • performance of new ventures and • entrepreneurial processes.
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Chapter 6: Transgenerational Entrepreneurship: Exploring Entrepreneural Orientation in Family Firms

Mattias Nordqvist, Timothy G. Habbershon and Leif Melin


6. Transgenerational entrepreneurship: exploring entrepreneurial orientation in family firms Mattias Nordqvist, Timothy G. Habbershon and Leif Melin INTRODUCTION Scholars seem to agree that corporate entrepreneurship is a useful concept to address how firms engage in change and renewal processes to maintain and improve their competitiveness. Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) represents a growing stream of literature on corporate entrepreneurship that focuses on decision-making styles and practices related to the entrepreneurial activities of firms. Recently, EO scholars have pointed to the need to explore the characteristics of EO and its dimensions in various types of organizations in greater depth (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996; Lyon et al., 2000). The underlying assumption is that EO might differ in important ways between organizational contexts. Family firms are often considered to be the most common type of business firms, yet many management theories do not take the family dimension and involvement into account (Dyer, 2003). We argue in this chapter that family firms constitute a unique context for entrepreneurship. For instance, enduring interactions between individuals, the family and the firm may create specific family-related bundles of resources and capabilities that constrain or facilitate entrepreneurial activities (Habbershon et al., 2003). In addition, longer investment and ownership horizons (James, 1999) mean that many family firms strive for transgenerational entrepreneurship (Habbershon and Pistrui, 2002). In the scarce literature on entrepreneurship in family firms it is possible to see two contradictory streams. One depicts family firms as a context where entrepreneurship flourishes and the other views family firms as...

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