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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 10: Creating family and business social capital: a co-investigation with a daughter and granddaughter

Ritch L. Sorenson in collaboration with an anonymous daughter* and granddaughter**


What gives family businesses an advantage, or a disadvantage, over non-family businesses? While all businesses have financial and human capital, family businesses are unique because they have family social capital. Family social capital is defined as the social relationships in a family that help define social relationships within the business and attract resources from other family members. In this paper, we examine how family social capital is developed and influences the business. Historically, community developers focused on solving multiple individual social issues to develop community progress. Yet, about 20 years ago, they found that by identifying individuals with control of assets and capabilities in the community, and by developing working relationships among them, they promoted projects for the common good and enhanced community progress. Simultaneously, literature emerged demonstrating how social relationships, also known as social capital, enable community action.

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