Family Firms and Institutional Contexts
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Family Firms and Institutional Contexts

Business Models, Innovation and Competitive Advantage

Edited by Giorgia M. D’Allura, Andrea Colli and Sanjay Goel

Featuring in-depth analysis of original research, this innovative book takes an interdisciplinary, cross-national approach to the study of family firms as institutions as well as the relationship between family firms and external institutions. It demonstrates the impact of these interactions both on the firms and institutions themselves and in the wider economic context, and provides important conceptual insights as well as ideas for future research agendas.
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Chapter 2: Institutions and family firms: past achievements and new challenges

Andrea Colli


Institutions, formal and informal, can be defined as stable patterns of behaviour, enforced by rules and social control. Scholars have proposed the identification between organizations and institutions. This chapter proposes a further refinement of these broad concepts in the case of family firms, defined as a peculiar form of business organization, in which one or more families stably and simultaneously enjoy ownership, control and management over the organization itself, influencing its strategies, competitive behaviour and performance goals. First, the chapter suggests that it is not possible to dismiss the influence of the ‘family dimension’ over the production of the norms and rules on which family-owned firms as organizations base their actions. Second, it claims that family firms are themselves peculiar forms of corporate organization in their turn embedded into a well-defined macro-institutional context. Third, it analyses how the two mentioned levels co-evolve.

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