Family Enterprise in the Asia Pacific
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Family Enterprise in the Asia Pacific

Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Firms

Edited by Kevin Au, Justin B. Craig and K. Ramachandran

This book analyzes the findings reported in the first Asia Pacific summit of the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project. Researchers in Australia, China, and India discussed eleven in-depth case studies to shed light on the challenges that business families and family businesses faced in continuing and extending their entrepreneurial capabilities across multiple generations.
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Chapter 9: Incremental Entrepreneurship: Best Practice Professionalization Across Generations

Justin Craig, Wayne Irava and Ken Moores


Mervyn Morris INTRODUCTION This chapter will introduce Australia’s Dennis family – a case of ‘incremental entrepreneurship’ in the business transition from the first to the second generation. Following the second generation’s formal involvement and ownership in the business, Dennis Family Corporation (DFC) undertook a major professionalization process to formalize the family business and ensure its continued success. The members of the second generation have successfully sustained the entrepreneurial spirit of their family business (albeit in a different style), adding value to the firm in an ‘incremental’ manner. Throughout the chapter there will be a strong emphasis on the family element of DFC and the roles that each family member has played. Bert Dennis, as the founder and incumbent leader of the firm, has witnessed major changes to the business he built from the ground up. His children, in particular his son Grant Dennis as the primary next generation issue champion, have seen the changes from another perspective – ensuring the business remains within the family into the second generation and beyond. The professionalization process was sparked by a commitment from the second generation to continue to ‘make a real go’ of the family business rather than simply liquidating and distributing the assets. The dedication of all the family members to this objective has ensured the success of this process, and ultimately, the longevity of the firm. Although DFC has become more ‘professional’, it has not lost its entrepreneurial character; rather, it has improved the ways in which entrepreneurialism is fostered and pursued...

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