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Family Business and Social Capital

Edited by Ritch L. Sorenson

The chapters in this cutting edge book comprise scholarly work on social capital in family business along with chapters written by family business owners and advisors. Topics covered include social capital as it relates to governance, trust, family and business identity, communication, family councils, work–family balance, and the use of advisors and continuing education to build social capital. Novel in its approach of integrating the voices of scholars, business families, and advisors, this book is useful not only for business research and classroom use, but also for business families and their advisors.
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Chapter 7: Family social capital as family business resilience capacity

Sharon M. Danes and Kathryn Stafford


Considering the nature of family businesses, which has varying types and degrees of family involvement, one would expect research on owner management to include not only business management but also family/business interface management. However, that has not been the case in much of the family business research literature. As Stafford et al. have noted, when the family is considered in the family business literature, the prevailing assumption is that families cause problems that must be solved and that maintaining the business takes precedence, even if it harms the family. Because of the emphasis on business functioning, family business research has concentrated on the human and financial capital of family members who are directly involved in the business’s operations. Family business research has paid little attention to other forms of family capital and to other family members, all of which affect the family/business connection and family business sustainability.2 Family business owners must perceive, process, and respond to changing environments and adjust the business’s courses of action to ensure sustainability over time, all of which depend on the relationships among those people within the owning family and the business.

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