Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transitional Economies. The relevance of context

The aim of this special track is to increase the understanding of family firms in developing, emerging, and transitional economies.


Welter, F. (Institut für Mittelstandsforschung, Germany)

Ramachandran, K.  (Indian School of Business, India)

Discua Cruz, A. (Lancaster University, UK)

Fang, H. (Mississippi State University, USA)

Basco, R. (Witten/Herdecke University, Germany)

Currently, the vast majority of family business studies have mostly focused on developed economies (e.g. North America and Europe). Moreover, theories in the family business literature are often developed based on particular points of view (e.g. Anglo-American) and tested in developed economies. This limits our understanding of family firms around the world as the contexts where they have been founded, developed and operated may differ substantially. Therefore the validity, reliability and applicability of existing theories may be questioned. While recent studies have attempted to resolve this issue by focusing on culture in terms of its effects on family entrepreneurial behavior and family firm heterogeneity, (e.g. Discua Cruz and Howorth, 2008; Gupta and Levenburg, 2010; Rosa et al., 2014) and by relating family firms and their geographical context (Basco, 2015), we still know little about family businesses in developing, emerging and transitional economies.

Family firms are ubiquitous and yet unique (Howorth et al., 2010). They are heterogeneous in terms of behavior and performance (Basco, 2013). Yet, the diverse and often complex contexts in which they dwell are largely overlooked (Gupta et al., 2008). Recent studies prompt researchers to look closely at the heterogeneous nature of context (e.g. historical, institutional, spatial, and social contexts) in which family firms dwell, as it influences the genesis, development and continuity of family firms (Wright et al., 2014). There is a need to concentrate on contextualizing theory (theories in context) and/or theorize about context (theories of context) (Whetten, 2009) in family business research. Studies that acknowledge and explore unique contexts would contribute significantly to the family business field (Smallbone and Welter, 2001; Welter, 2011). This track encourages studies that acknowledge and explore family businesses in developing, emerging and transitional economies.

                The main goal of the Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transition Economies[i] track is to encourage the presentation of studies in such unique contexts related, but not limited, to:

  • Traditional familybusiness research topics (such as succession, management, corporate governance, and ownership among other) but contextualizing the study in emerging, developing and transition economies.
  • The economic and social impact of family businesses in emerging, developing and transition economies.
  • The origin and evolution of family businesses in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • Historical, sociological and anthropological perspectives to study family businesses in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • Cooperation and/or competitive dynamics of family businesses in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • The role of government policies in the start-up, development or death of family businesses in emerging, developing and transition economies.
  • The applicability of mainstream theories in understanding familybusiness behavior in emerging, developing and transition economies.
  • Strategies adopted by family businesses to counteract/compromise/obey institutional isomorphism in emerging, developing and transition economies.
  • Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation in familybusiness in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • Familybusiness (economic and non-economic) performances in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • Internationalization of family businesses in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • Comparative studies considering differences and similarities between family businesses in developed and developing countries or among developing countries.
  • Family businesses, familybusiness groups and family elites in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • Cultural aspects that frame family and familybusiness values, norms, and ethics in emerging, developing, and transition economies.
  • The impact of the context on shaping familybusiness management and governance practices in emerging, developing, and transition economies.

We believe that this special track at EURAM (European Academy of Management) will make several contributions to family business research. First, by contextualizing family businesses we may have a better understanding of the diversity of family firms across contexts (e.g. historical, temporal, institutional, special and social). Second, by contextualizing borrowed theories (agency theory, institutional theory, institutional logics, etc.), we may validate, extend or contrast mainstream theories in the family business field. More importantly, we may be able to contextualize existing theories in the family business literature aiming to improve the validity, reliability and applicability in diverse settings. Finally, by theorizing about the effects of context on family firms we expect to generate the discussions that could lead to a generic Theory of Context useful for family business studies.

A workshop about “contextualizing family firms” will take place in EURAM 2016. The objectives of this workshop will focus on awareness, theories, methods and existing works that highlight the relevance of context in the study of family firms.

 

To submit your paper to the EURAM 2016 Conference – Deadline 12th January 2016


References

Basco, R. (2013), “The family’s effect on family firm performance: A model testing the demographic and essence approaches”, Journal of Family Business Strategy, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 42–66.

Basco, R. (2015), “Family Business and Regional Development. A theoretical model of regional familiness”, Journal of Family Business Strategy, No. Forthcoming.

Discua Cruz, A. and Howorth, C. (2008), “Family business in Honduras: Applicability of agency and stewardship theories”, in Gupta, V., Levenburg, N., Moore, L., Motwani, J. and Schwarz, T. (Eds.),Culturally-sensitive models of family business in Latin America, Hyderabad: ICFAI University Press, pp. 222–243.

Gupta, V. and Levenburg, N. (2010), “A Thematic Analysis of Cultural Variations in Family Businesses: The CASE Project”, Family Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 155–169.

Gupta, V., Levenburg, N., Moore, L., Motwani, J. and Schwarz, T. V. (2008), Culturally-sensitive models of family business in Germanic Europe., ICFA University Press, Hyderabad, India.

Howorth, C., Rose, M., Hamilton, E. and Westhead, P. (2010), “Family firm diversity and development: An introduction”, International Small Business Journal, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 437–451.

Rosa, P., Howorth, C. and Discua Cruz, A. (2014), “Habitual and portfolio entrepreneurship and the family in business”, in Melin, L., Nordqvist, M. and Sharma, P. (Eds.),The SAGE Family Business Handbook, Sage, London.

Smallbone, D. and Welter, F. (2001), “The distinctiveness of entrepreneurship in transition economies”, Small Business Economics, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 249–262.

Welter, F. (2011), “Contextualizing Entrepreneurship—Conceptual Challenges and Ways Forward”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Blackwell Publishing Inc, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 165–184.

Whetten, D.A. (2009), “An Examination of the Interface between Context and Theory Applied to the Study of Chinese Organizations”, Management and Organization Review, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 29–55.

Wright, M., Chrisman, J.J., Chua, J.H. and Steier, L.P. (2014), “Family Enterprise and Context”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 1247–1260.

[i] The International Monetary Fund’ list of developing countries is used to determine the countries that fall within such category: World Economic Outlook – 2014

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