What is good for your family firm is good for you!

PhotoWhat is good for your family firm is good for you, but the other way around is not true,” said Sheikh Sultan Al Qassemi in the Guest Lecture Series hosted by Prof. Rodrigo Basco. “Family is about emotions and how to manage them for continuity.”

In the interactive session, titled “The Experience from Two Generations,” Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi and his nephew, Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qassimi, emphasized the importance of emotional intelligence and strategic dialogue when communicating with family members in a professional arena.

Drawing on their own experiences, the guest lecturers explained the importance for new-generation family business members to listen and to learn but to not directly confront the generation in charge. Finding alternative solutions to convince family members to implement family and/or business changes is the best way to strategically manage family businesses in the Arab world. The lesson they transmitted was “adapt your strategies to the cultural context of the Arab world. Respect tradition without confrontation, but look for opportunities to introduce changes necessary to keep your family united and the business working.” “The key to cohesion and efficiency,” Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi said, “is understanding the essence of those you’re working with.”

Saud Al Qassemi spoke about the uncertainty he experienced after graduating from university. He had assumed that he would be included within his family business after merely a few months of training. “I was wrong,” he said with a laugh. “When I asked my uncle if I could join, he simply said no.” Instead, Saud Al Qassimi spent the next couple years learning and gaining experience working in numerous banks in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. It was only after having spent a considerable amount of time abroad that he joined his family’s business.

However, his experience, extensive as it might have seemed, was not enough to prepare him for working alongside his family. “I found out that working in a bank is a completely different experience,” he said. “Working in a family business is something else entirely. I don’t think it’s something you can actually prepare for.”

Photo 3Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi and Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qassimi’s session is one of the initiatives headed by Dr. Rodrigo Basco, Chairholder of the Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al Qassimi Chair in Family Business, aiming to disseminate new knowledge to the student community and to further develop the future leaders of family businesses in the UAE, GCC, and MENA regions.



CALL FOR PAPERS – Journal of Family Business Management


Guest Editors:

Albert James, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, Canada

Elias Hadjielias, University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus

Maribel Guerrero, Northumbria University, UK

Allan Discua Cruz, Lancaster University Management School, UK

Rodrigo Basco, American University of Sharjah, Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business, UAE

Families in business are an essential component of the socioeconomic landscape of towns, cities and regions around the world (Basco & Bartkeviciute, 2016; Guerrero et al., 2013; Howorth, Rose, Hamilton, & Westhead, 2010; Seaman, 2015). Entrepreneurial families in business can be broadly interpreted as a phenomenon where several members of a family create and develop one or more business enterprises over time (Hamilton, Discua Cruz, & Jack, 2017; Nordqvist & Melin, 2010). Our understanding of families in business to date is supported by the acknowledgement that entrepreneurship is inextricably linked to family (Aldrich & Cliff, 2003; Heck et al., 2006; Olson et al., 2003; Williams, Zorn, Russell Crook, & Combs, 2013). However, context and time have been scarcely integrated to frame the study of entrepreneurial families in business.

Time is a dimension that affects individual behavior and, consequently, those institutions, such as family and business, in which they are embedded. The objective interpretation of time, as a linear and regular pattern which is irreversible, could be used to explore and explain the start-up, development and exit of entrepreneurial economic activities of families (Drakopoulou Dodd, Anderson, & Jack, 2013) which may impact on management complexity, portfolios or spin offs and further entrepreneurial activities. Time is important because of its subjective intepretation, grounded on the meaning that cultures associate to it (Ancona, Okhuysen, & Perlow, 2001), which may alter the interpretation of the entrepreneurship phenomenon itself as well as the perception and subsequent entrepreneurial behaviour across cultures at the individual, group, and firm level. Scholars are called to understand the dynamics that motivate a family to keep a busines under family control over time (Tucker, 2011) often developing tailored managerial forms of control (Botero, Gomez Betancourt, Betancourt Ramirez, & Lopez Vergara, 2015), often challenging long standing ideologies within their firms (Johannisson & Huse, 2000). Similarly scholars are called to understant the effect of entrepreneurship on families and the desire to maintain control of their business (Jennings, Breitkreuz, & James, 2013).

Context is what is beyond the phenomenon itself, and the demarcation between them is composed of both a physical and cognitive aspects (Basco, 2015). While context has traditionally represented the formal and informal institutions that shape the phenomenon of entrepreneurial families in business (North, 1990; Scott, 1995), recent work suggests that there are multiple and overlapping embedded contexts (Basco, 2017), which may influence the practice of entrepreneurship in entrepreneurial families in business (Welter, 2011). Recently, in a study of a rural cooperative comprised of family businesses, Hadjielias & Poutziouris (2015) explored the dynamics bringing together families in business from diffferent business contexts. Their findings underscore that context is important for entrepreneurial families to engage in entrepreneurial activities collectively. Contexts such as industrial districts (Johannisson et al., 2007) and entrepreneurial environments (Guerrero et al., 2013), as well as endogenous, exogenous and temporal aspects (Wright, Chrisman, Chua, & Steier, 2014) merit close attention. Further studies around context and its physical/cognitive as well as formal/informal demarcations can help develop theories of entrepreneurial families in business and contextualise the phenomenon.

A focus on entrepreneurial families in business underscores a family perspective on entrepreneurship by considering three levels of analysis: individual, group and firm (Discua Cruz & Basco, 2017). Each level calls for interdisciplinary studies with different dimensions and relationships to be explored through time and within contexts. For example, at the individual level, the influence of family in entrepreneurship has been discussed by Aldrich and Cliff (2003) (2003), yet more work is needed to unpack how family dynamics influence the initial steps in an entrepreneurial process in particular contexts and time. Further works at the group level approach could help contextualize the interactions of family members as building blocks for creating collective rules, patterns, goals and expectations that influence a family group/team dynamics when creating or pursuing business opportunities (Discua Cruz, Hadjielias, & Howorth, 2017; Discua Cruz, Howorth, & Hamilton, 2013). Finally, at firm level, the interaction between family firm and corporate entrepreneurship needs more research in order to better understand the cross-family and cross-cultural differences that may affect corporate venturing, renewal strategies, and innovation.

In theorizing entrepreneurial families in business around time and context we attempt to advance our understanding around recent calls to explore further the link between family, context, time and entrepreneurship (Drakopoulou Dodd et al., 2013; Randerson, Bettinelli, Dosena, & Fayolle, 2015; Seaman, 2015; Welter, 2011). Thus, a special focus on generations, context, and culture for studying entrepreneurial families in business around the world is warranted. To advance understanding around entrepreneurial families in business this special issue aims to consider conceptual, qualitative and quantitative empirical studies from around the world. Theoretical and conceptual research contributions are also welcomed. As the study of entrepreneurial families in business is multidisciplinary, we encourage cross-disciplinary approaches to advance our understanding. Questions and themes that can be submitted and developed for this special issue include, yet are not limited to:

Entrepreneurial families in business

  • What are the entrepreneurial features of families in business?
  • How do entrepreneurial families in business influence a transgenerational entrepreneurship behavior?
  • What kind of family identities and goals do entrepreneurial families embrace?
  • How does the entrepreneurial behaviour of families in business influence firm performance?
  • How and why do entrepreneurial families in business engage in habitual entrepreneurship behaviour?
  • Why do certain entrepreneurial families in business prefer to cooperate with other families in business?


  • How does family life cycles influence entrepreneurial families in business?
  • How business life and product life cycle affect entrepreneurial families in business?
  • How and why some families in business are more entrepreneurial than others?
  • What kind of cognitive processes do entrepreneurial families develop in order to discover and exploit opportuities?
  • How do families in business develop and sustain entrepreneurial opportunities across generations?
  • How does the perception of time by entrepreneurial families affect the dimensions of firm entrepreneurial behavior?
  • How do entrepreneurial families in business address succession processes in family business?
  • How do entrepreneurial families in business influence local, regional institutions over time?
  • How does family life-cycle affect a family’s entrepreneurial activity?


  • Do features of entrepreneurial families in business vary across cultures? What kind of feature differences in terms of managerial philosophy, identities, and family goals can we find across cultures?
  • Is there any link between entrepreneurial institutions and entrepreneurial families?
  • To what extent do particular contextual dimensions (e.g formal/informal, physical/cognitive) affect entrepreneurial families?
  • What are the origins and evolution of entrepreneurial families in business families across contexts?
  • What do concepts of what family is (extent, membership, responsibilities, relationships, etc.) mean for family entrepreneurial activity?
  • How do cooperatives become contexts for the collective practice of entrepreneurship between families in business?

We invite submissions to a special issue of Journal of Family Business Management around the topic of “Entrepreneurial families in business across generations, contexts and cultures”. All papers will be subject to the usual review process and must meet the publication standards of the journal.

This special issue is a collaboration with Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC), which will be hold in Mexico in June 2018: Family Traditions & Culture: Values and legacy in Entrepreneurial Families.

Additional Information

Authors should follow the guidelines as stated in the Information for Contributors of Manuscripts. Manuscripts should be submitted to https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jfbm no later than September 15, 2018. Authors should indicate “Special Issue” as the manuscript type and should specify that the submission is for the special issue on “ENTREPRENEURIAL FAMILIES IN BUSINESS ACROSS GENERATIONS AND CULTURES” in their cover letter. Please contact Albert James (Albert.James@Dal.Ca), Elias Hadjielias (ehadjielias@uclan.ac.uk), Maribel Guerrero (maribel.guerrero@northumbria.ac.uk), Allan Discua Cruz (a.discuacruz@lancaster.ac.uk), Rodrigo Basco (bascorodrigo@gmail.com) if you have any questions about the special issue.



Aldrich, H. E., & Cliff, J. E. (2003). The pervasive effects of family on entrepreneurship: toward a family embeddedness perspective. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 573–596.

Ancona, D. G., Okhuysen, G. A., & Perlow, L. A. (2001). Taking Time to Integrate Temporal Research. The Academy of Management Review, 26(4), 512–529.

Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional development-A theoretical model of regional familiness. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(4), 259–271.

Basco, R. (2017). Epilogue: Multiple embeddedness contexts for entrepreneurship. In M. Ramírez-Pasillas, E. Brundin, & M. Markowska (Eds.), Contextualizing Entrepreneurship in developing and emerging economies (pp. 329–336). London: Edward Edgar.

Basco, R., & Bartkeviciute, I. (2016). Is there any room form family business into European Union 2020 Strategy? Family business and regional public policy. Local Economy, 31(6), 709–732.

Botero, I. C., Gomez Betancourt, G., Betancourt Ramirez, J. B., & Lopez Vergara, M. P. (2015). Family protocols as governance tools: Understanding why and how family protocols are important in family firms. Journal of Family Business Management, 5(2), 218–237.

Discua Cruz, A., & Basco, R. (2017). A family perspective on Entrepreneurship. In N. Turcan R & Fraser (Ed.), A Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Entrepreneurship (p. forthcoming). Palgrave.

Discua Cruz, A., Hadjielias, E., & Howorth, C. (2017). Family entrepreneurial teams. In C. Ben-hafaiedh & T. Cooney (Eds.), Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Teams: Theory and Practice (C. Ben-Haf). UK: Edward Edgar.

Discua Cruz, A., Howorth, C., & Hamilton, E. (2013). Intrafamily Entrepreneurship: The Formation and Membership of Family Entrepreneurial Teams. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(1), 17–46.

Drakopoulou Dodd, S., Anderson, A., & Jack, S. (2013). Being in time and the family owned firm. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 29(1), 35–47.

Guerrero, M., Peña-Legazkue, I., Marshall, A., Gras, G., Mira, I., & Coduras, A. (2013). Entrepreneurial activity and regional development: an introduction to this special issue. Investigaciones Regionales, 26, 5–15.

Hadjielias, E., & Poutziouris, P. (2015). On the conditions for the cooperative relations between family businesses: the role of trust. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 21(6), 867–897.

Hamilton, E., Discua Cruz, A., & Jack, S. (2017). Re-framing the status of narrative in family business research: Towards an understanding of families in business. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 8(1), 3–12.

Heck, R., Danes, S., Fitzgerald, M. A., Haynes, G., Jasper, C., Schrank, H., … Winter, M. (2006). The family’s dynamic role within family business entrepreneurship. In P. Poutziouris, K. Smyrnios, & S. Klein (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Family Business (pp. 80–124). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Howorth, C., Rose, M., Hamilton, E., & Westhead, P. (2010). Family firm diversity and development: An introduction. International Small Business Journal, 28(5), 437–451.

Jennings, J. E., Breitkreuz, R. S., & James, A. E. (2013). When Family Members Are Also Business Owners: Is Entrepreneurship Good for Families? Family Relations, 62(3), 472–489.

Johannisson, B., Caffarena, L. C., Cruz, A. F. D., Epure, M., Pérez, E. H., Kapelko, M., … Bisignano, A. (2007). Interstanding the industrial district: contrasting conceptual images as a road to insight. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 19(6), 527–554.

Johannisson, B., & Huse, M. (2000). Recruiting outside board members in the small family business: an ideological challenge. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 12(4), 353–378.

Nordqvist, M., & Melin, L. (2010). Entrepreneurial families and family firms. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 22(3–4), 211–239.

North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge university press.

Olson, P. D., Zuiker, V. S., Danes, S. M., Stafford, K., Heck, R. K. Z., & Duncan, K. A. (2003). The impact of the family and the business on family business sustainability. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 639–666.

Randerson, K., Bettinelli, C., Dosena, C., & Fayolle, A. (2015). Family Entrepreneurship: Rethinking the research agenda. NY: Routledge.

Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Seaman, C. (2015). Creating space for the business family: Networks, social capital & family businesses in rural development. Journal of Family Business Management, 5(2), 182–191.

Tucker, J. (2011). Keeping the business in the family and the family in business: “What is the legacy?” Journal of Family Business Management, 1(1), 65–73.

Welter, F. (2011). Contextualizing Entrepreneurship-Conceptual Challenges and Ways Forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165–184.

Williams, D. W., Zorn, M. L., Russell Crook, T., & Combs, J. G. (2013). Passing the Torch: Factors Influencing Transgenerational Intent in Family Firms. Family Relations, 62(3), 415–428.

Wright, M., Chrisman, J. J., Chua, J. H., & Steier, L. P. (2014). Family Enterprise and Context. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38(6), 1247–1260.



“What if corruption is a matter of being or not being for family firms”

By Rodrigo Basco and Ramsha S. Khan

This is an interview with Dr. Thomas Bassetti of University of Padua (Italy). Dr. Bassetti published an article in the Journal of Family Business Strategy in collaboration with Dr. Dal Maso Lorenzo and Dr. Lattanzi Nicola entitled: “Family Businesses in Eastern European Countries: How Informal Payments affect Exports”

What has inspired you to write about the topic of corruption and family businesses in Thomasthe Eastern European Countries?

In May 2008, I read an article published by The Economist talking about corruption in Eastern Europe. The title of the article was “Talking of virtue, counting the spoons”. The central point of the article was that the EU enlargement process has generated temptingly puddles of public money to steal. According to the journalist, a more effective approach to fight corruption is the simplification of the public administration. Public administration should be simplified to the point where bribes are either unnecessary or extremely evident.

As an economist, I immediately thought that corruption can be represented as a market characterized by two different sides: the demand side and the supply side. The Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) gave us the opportunity to investigate this hypothesis. In particular, we were interested in exploring under which conditions a firm may be interested in bribing public officials. Usually, bribes are devoted to buying a competitive input or to facilitate an administrative process. In this second case, even a competitive firm may be interested in bribing a civil servant. In particular, a risk-averse firm facing institutional inefficiencies may decide to bribe a public official just to overcome these inefficiencies that threaten its own survival. In this sense, bribes act as an insurance against institutional inefficiencies.

What are the main results of the article published in the Special Issue?

First, when we examine the relationship between corruption and export, it is important to take into account the reasons why firms bribe public officials. Second, in contrast to non-family firms, family firms are particularly sensitive to corruption. Finally, informal payments aiming to facilitate business operations tend to support export-oriented family firms.

What is the theoretical application of your research? What are the future lines of research of this topic?

The main theoretical implication of our research is that risk-aversion plays a role in the willingness to use informal economy channels. So, if family firms are more risk averse than non family firms, the former may be more involved than the latter in informal activities just because of their risk attitude.

Although we provided robust evidence on the causal relationship between the family firms’ demand for bribery and exports in Eastern European economies, given the nature of the dataset, we were not able to distinguish among different compelling explanations for our evidence.  Therefore, a first strand of literature should explore the mechanisms behind our findings. Similarly, a second strand of literature should investigate whether our findings apply only to Eastern European countries or not. In this second case, there could be a minimum level of institutional inefficiencies below which risk-averse firms have no incentive to bribe public officials.

What is the practical application of your research for policy-makers?

Our article has some important implications in terms of anti-bribery policies. According to our results, policy-makers should distinguish informal payments into pure corruption payments (i.e., payments devoted to acquire an additional competitive input) and facilitation payments (i.e., payments devoted to accelerate inefficient administrative procedures). If informal payments are devoted to facilitate business’ operations, before fighting these deplorable practices, policymakers should remove those market and institutional inefficiencies that hamper business operations. This is why facilitation payments are tolerated also in the U.S. In addition, since family firms are the most common form of business entity, this policy intervention may boost family firms’ export, favoring economic growth and development.

Entrepreneurship, Migration and Family in Peripheral Contexts – Avenues for Growth and Internationalisation

IMAGENCall For Papers

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business


Guest Editors
Maria Elo
University of Turku, Finland

Susanne Sandberg
Linnaeus University, Sweden

Per Servais
University of Southern, Denmark

Allan Discua Cruz
Lancaster University Management School, UK

Rodrigo Basco
Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family BusinessAmerican University of Sharjah, UAE

The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business (IJESB) has recently published several articles about migrant entrepreneurship and internationalisation. The purpose of this special issue is to continue and extend this academic dialogue about entrepreneurship, migration and family in peripheral contexts as dimensions that can influence new business creation, internationalisation and socio-economic development. Peripheral contexts often create pressures to internationalise and to find alternative entrepreneurial strategies and resources. This special issue aims to foster further understanding of these topics, which are of increasing relevance around the world.

Peripheral contexts are often disadvantageous, e.g. being constrained by the shortage of customers, the lack of physical and human resources, the higher cost of imported raw materials, obstacles in terms of logistics and the scarcity of international networks (e.g. Dana, 1996; Freiling, 2008; Sandberg, 2013). In addition, many peripheries face severe problems of brain drain as urbanisation and migration absorbs the young potential elsewhere. Furthermore, novel challenges arrive as the crisis-driven migration wave reaches these areas and creates a need to integrate newcomers into the local economies and societies (e.g. Heikkila et al. 2015). However, to understand the challenges of business development in peripheral contexts, it is necessary to explore three main interconnected elements: entrepreneurship, migration, and family.

Entrepreneurship -understood in a broad sense (such as at societal, organisational and/or individual levels)- represents an important element of economic growth and development (e.g, Dana, 2011) because it refers to the mobilisation of physical, human and social resources for detecting, creating and developing opportunities (Ardichvili, Cardozo & Ray, 2003; Muzychenko, 2008) and taking risks (Knight, 1921; Zahra, 2005). In this sense, entrepreneurship means the ability of a society, existing firms or individuals to create new or expand existing economic activities, often internationally (Acs, Dana & Jones, 2003; Moen & Servais, 2002) and under difficult conditions (Hitt, Ireland, Sirmon & Trahms, 2011). Therefore, entrepreneurship in peripheral contexts can be better understood by linking two additional phenomena: migration and family.

The context of periphery in which entrepreneurs and firms dwell may affect the birth, development, growth and mortality of a firm. Beyond the traditional overlooked importance of a single entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial teams and families in business go about creating more than one business over time (Discua Cruz, Howorth & Hamilton, 2013), often responding to migration processes and changing institutional conditions (Fernandez Perez & Lluch, 2016). Moreover, contextual, seasonal or other value creation limitations may not allow a classic ongoing single figure in entrepreneurial activity (Rosa et al., 2014). The result of such dynamics is often embedded in the formation of entrepreneurial enclaves in peripheral areas (Johannisson et al., 2007) with greater effect on regional development.

Migration is a challenge and opportunity shaping peripheral entrepreneurship and development (e.g. Kalantaridis, 2010; de Lange, 2013). Migration is a cross-action element that may accelerate the economic and social development of a peripheral context (Dana, 1991; de Lange, 2013; Riddle, 2008). International migration may not only reduce the impact of brain drain by attracting new human resources serving as valuable input for existing firms, but could also be considered as a potential entrepreneurial resource and change agent (Riddle & Brinkerhoff, 2011). For instance, migrants and their access to diaspora networks provide multiple positive effects on venturing and international business (e.g. Elo, 2015; Sandberg & Jansson, 2014).

Furthermore, local families -because of their embeddedness in a region and their function as source and recipient of social traditions, culture and values- may also perform as an important entrepreneurial function (e.g., Basco, 2015). In particular, local socio-cultural embeddedness and family networks may assist the survival of new firms (Littunen, 2000). Therefore, both indigenous and migrant people may ¡V independently or in combination ¡V be the source of entrepreneurial activities accelerating the economic dynamism of peripheries through the creation of new and more global firms or the expansion/internationalisation of existing firms (cf. Madsen & Servais, 1997; Riddle, Hrivnak & Nielsen, 2010; Elo et al., 2015).

We welcome qualitative as well as quantitative and mixed methodologies, as long as they are well grounded in the literature. Please refer to the following articles:
• Dana, L.P. & Dumez, H. (2015) ¡§Qualitative Research Revisited: Epistemology of a Comprehensive Approach,¡¨ International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business 26 (2), October 2015, pp. 154-170.
• Dana, L.P. & Dana, T.E. (2005) ¡§Expanding the Scope of Methodologies Used in Entrepreneurship Research,¡¨ International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business 2 (1), 2005, pp. 79-88.

Subject Coverage
Some examples of relevant themes and research questions that might be considered include, but are not limited to, the following:
• How do context and place influence entrepreneurship and a firm¡¦s development, also internationally? For example, demanding business environments and locations, such as peripheral, emerging and remote areas, Arctic and Nordic business environments, rural countryside locations, islands and small island states-realities, and limitations of small nation states.
• How can context enable and foster entrepreneurial business and strategies through institutional frameworks, support systems and paths for developing entrepreneurship?
• How does the type and form of entrepreneurial activity influence venture survival and growth? For example, can non-ideal business context and non-mainstream businesses, such as seasonal business, niche markets, unusual life-style ventures, socio-cultural ventures, social entrepreneurship, diaspora entrepreneurship, transnational multi-actor partnerships and other portfolio entrepreneurship-solutions generate new strategies?
• How does in- and out-migration influence the entrepreneurial landscape?
• What is the role of embeddedness in local, glocal and global networks for entrepreneurship and expansion? How can multi-ethnic and international embeddedness enhance entrepreneurship and growth?
• What kind of business models, coping strategies and best practices, or failures and success stories, can be identified for internationalisation and growth, high psychic distances, logistical and virtual business solutions?
• Who are the people -the entrepreneurs and families- behind entrepreneurship? Why do entrepreneurs choose to do business in a peripheral context? Comparisons and analysis of types of entrepreneurs and their backgrounds, such as historical, local, virtual, minority, migrant, multigenerational diasporans, transnational and cosmopolitan diaspora.
• What kind of roles do family and the ethno-cultural setting have and how do they influence entrepreneurial businesses? How are family, business strategy and business development across countries managed for growth and prosperity?
Notes for Prospective Authors Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper). All papers are refereed through a peer review process. All papers must be submitted online. Please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates
Submission of manuscripts: 30 June, 2016
Notification to authors: 31 August, 2016
Final versions due: 31 October, 2016

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Ardichvili, A., Cardozo, R., & Ray, S. (2003). A theory of entrepreneurial opportunity identification and development. Journal of Business venturing, 18(1), 105-123.
Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional development -theoretical model of regional familiness. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(4), 259-271.
Dana, L. P. (1991) Bring In More Entrepreneurs, Policy Options 12(9), November, pp. 18-19.
Dana, L. P. (1996). Self-employment in the Canadian sub-Arctic: an exploratory study, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences 13 (1), 65-77.
Dana, L. P. (2011). World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship, Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar.
Discua Cruz, A., Howorth, C., & Hamilton, E. (2013). Intrafamily entrepreneurship: The formation and membership of family entrepreneurial teams. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(1), 17-46.
de Lange, D. E. (2013). Embedded diasporas: Shaping the geopolitical landscape. Journal of International Management, 19(1), 14-25.
Elo, Maria (2015) Diaspora networks in international business: A review on an emerging stream of research, in Larimo, J. Nummela, N. & Mainela, T. (eds.), Handbook on International Alliance and Network Research, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 13-41
Elo, M., Harima, A., & Freiling, J. (2015). To Try or Not to Try? A Story of Diaspora Entrepreneurship. The Future of Global Organizing (Progress in International Business Research, Volume 10) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 10, 283-293.
Fernandez Perez, P & Lluch, A (2016, forthcoming), Evolution of Family Business: Continuity and change in Latin America and Spain, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA
Freiling, J. (2008). Institutional designs in international transactions-an evolutionary economics perspective. Available at SSRN 1093271.
Heikkila, E., Kostiainen, A., Leinonen, J. & Soderling, I. (2015) Participation, Integration and Recognition, Changing Pathways to Immigrant Incorporation, Turku, 2015, Institute of Migration
Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., Sirmon, D. G., & Trahms, C. A. (2011). Strategic entrepreneurship: creating value for individuals, organizations, and society. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(2), 57-75.
Johannisson, B., Caffarena, L. C., Discua Cruz, A. F., Epure, M., Hormiga, E., Kapelko, M., Murdock, K., Nanka-Bruce, D., Olejarova, M., Sanchez Lopez, A., Sekki, A.,Stoian, M., Totterman, H., & Bisignano, A. (2007), Interstanding the industrial district: contrasting conceptual images as a road to insight, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 19(6), 527 – 554.
Kalantaridis, C. (2010). In-migration, entrepreneurship and rural¡Vurban interdependencies: The case of East Cleveland, North East England. Journal of Rural Studies, 26(4), 418-427.
Knight, Frank H. (1921), Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.
Littunen, H. (2000). Networks and local environmental characteristics in the survival of new firms. Small Business Economics, 15(1), 59-71.
Madsen, T. K., & Servais, P. (1997). The internationalization of born globals: an evolutionary process?. International Business Review, 6(6), 561-583.
Moen, O. & Servais, P. (2002). Born global or gradual global? Examining the export behavior of small and medium-sized enterprises. Journal of international marketing, 10(3), 49-72.
Muzychenko, O. (2008). Cross-cultural entrepreneurial competence in identifying international business opportunities. European Management Journal, 26(6), 366-377.
Riddle, L. (2008). Diasporas: Exploring their development potential. ESR Review, 10(2), 28.
Riddle, L., & Brinkerhoff, J. (2011). Diaspora entrepreneurs as institutional change agents: The case of Thamel. com. International Business Review, 20(6), 670-680.
Riddle, L., Hrivnak, G. A., & Nielsen, T. M. (2010). Transnational diaspora entrepreneurship in emerging markets: Bridging institutional divides. Journal of International Management, 16(4), 398-411.
Rosa, P., Howorth, C., & Discua Cruz, A. (2014). Habitual and portfolio entrepreneurship and the family in business. In Melin, L., Nordqvist, M. & Sharma, P. The SAGE Handbook of Family Business. London: Sage. 364-382
Sandberg, S. (2013). Emerging market entry node pattern and experiential knowledge of small and medium-sized enterprises. International Marketing Review, 30(2), 106-129.
Sandberg, S. & Jansson, H. (2014) Collective internationalization processes – A new take off route of private small and medium sized enterprises from China. Journal of Asian Business Studies 8(1): 29-42.
Zahra, S. A. (2005). Entrepreneurial risk taking in family firms. Family Business Review, 18(1), 23-40.

Special Issue – “Family Business and Regional Development”


Journal of Family Business Strategy – Volume 6, Issue 4



Abstract. The purpose of this special issue is to stimulate research on the interaction between the fields of family business and regional science. Despite their overlapping themes and the high relevance of family firms for many regions, the two academic fields have emerged independently from each other, and little exchange exists. We discuss not only the role family firms play within the region in order to enhance our understanding of the ways family firms may (or may not) contribute to regional economic development but also the effect of socio-spatial and institutional context on firm behavior and performance. The set of empirical and theoretical articles included in this special issue represents an important early step bridging insights between the two fields.



Abstract. This article investigates the effect of corruption on the export share of family firms in Eastern European countries. Using the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey and panel data methods, we find that, in contrast to non-family firms, family firms are rather sensitive to corruption. In particular, the export share of family firms is positively associated with informal payments that aim to facilitate business operations. There are at least three compelling explanations for these results. First, if family firms are more risk averse than non-family firms, informal payments may represent additional export risk insurance. Second, informal payments may help family firms compensate for the lack of managerial capabilities to export. Finally, when institutional inefficiencies obstruct business, corruption may be a tool for family firms to protect their socioemotional wealth.

Abstract. Family firms and industrial districts represent the pillars of the Italian manufacturing industry. Yet, the interplay between corporate ownership and the districtual organization of the industry has been basically overlooked. This paper reports preliminary evidence on the joint contribution of family firms and industrial districts to the competitive performance of Italian manufacturing firms. Descriptive and econometric analysis shows a positive effect of family ownership on firm profitability, as measured by the industry-adjusted Return on Sale (ROS), whereas the advantage of being located in an industrial district is less evident. Empirical evidence shows that the comparative advantages of family ownership change along the firm size distribution and according to the nature and relevance of the external (districtual) economies. Specifically, the performance impact of the interaction between the “district effect” and the “family effect” changes significantly across firm size classes: while these two effects operate as a substitute in smaller sized classes, they are complements in medium-sized firms. In particular, medium-sized firms (100–250 employees) are the best at leveraging the benefits of districtual organization, but only in the case of family ownership.

Abstract. This paper studies the effects of family governance and ownership on firm employment growth, extending existing knowledge by including in the analysis the regional context in which firms are located. We create a regional taxonomy to capture the urban–rural dimension and combine this with the corporate governance structure of the firm. Our results show that, being a family firm per se does not influence employment growth. However, when corporate governance structure and regional context are combined, the urban–rural context influences family firm and nonfamily firm employment growth differently, with family firms exhibiting greater employment growth, compared with nonfamily firms, in rural areas.

Abstract. A key issue for regional development studies is to determine the exogenous and endogenous factors and the processes that occur within the territory and favor sustainable regional growth and development. Despite theoretical and empirical advances in understanding the mechanisms behind regional development, one dimension has been neglected: family business. To address this gap, I aim to link the family business and regional development literatures by developing a theoretical model that attempts to serve as a framework for interpreting the potential role that family firms play in regional development. The model is based on the concept of regional familiness, suggesting that the embeddedness of family businesses in regional productive structures affects regional factors, regional processes, and regional proximity dimensions and thus alters external economies of agglomeration and regional externalities. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Regional familiness for policy-makers

This is the third piece in a three-part series on family business and regional development. Read part one: “in search of the missing link” and part two “Regional Familiness – The missing link

Part 3: What can policy-makers and family owner-manager do for regional development?

By Rodrigo Basco, Ph.D.

We are arriving at our last stop in this trip arguing that it is not thewordle 2 number of family firms within the geographical space which makes them important, but the quality of their behaviour. The economic participation of family firms can be seen through aggregate numbers such as contribution to GDP or participation on employment rate, but these numbers are just the consequences of what is happening within the region.

Nevertheless, do we know how family firm behaviour affects regional economic development?

To answer this question, in the previous post, I sustained that family firms may alter soft issues such as proximity (physical, cognitive, social, organizational and institutional proximity) that enable regional processes to boost or to hinder economic and social development.

And! So what?

This new lens, regional familiness perspective, to approach the understanding and analysing of family firm and regional development could have two main stakeholders as recipients. First, for policy-makers who are interested in promoting regional policy for economic growth and development and, second, for family firms themselves which are interested in their own image within the geographical space.

Policy-makers are strongly convinced that they can intervene in economic and social spheres to reduce regional inequality. Policies at the local, regional, national, or supranational level have targeted phenomena such as entrepreneurship, innovation, and internationalization among others without considering the composition of firms within their local productive structures. Familiness characteristics have been omitted from the analysis for tailoring regional policies. Without knowing who receives support and how they interact within the environment, there is an increase in the likelihood that political interventions may fail. Family and non-family firms react differently to political incentives because family firms have different underlying motivations, goals, and aspirations affecting their decision making.

But supporting family firms is not about reducing taxes as a consequence of lobby actions of huge family firms and wealthy families as the main European political policy is doing to favour family businesses. Policy-makers, by doing their job, have to recognize the family business role in the economic and social environment to tailor policies to increase the positive side of family businesses while reducing the negative ones. What regions and family businesses need in Bavaria, Andalucía, Central America and Bangalore is completely different and it is not related to reducing taxes. For instance, Can the long tradition of family firms recover the economic dynamic of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) beyond the coal and steel industry and the complacency of having hidden champions? Can the new generation of family members in the North Rhine-Westphalia region maintain the leadership of their firms as their fathers and mothers have been able to do so far? Are members or wealthy family firms agents of innovation or just mere wealth managers of their fortune?

On the other hand, family members cannot avoid their link between family name and firm as an identity footprint that requires caring for the family business image. It is not the philanthropic actions which make family firms socially responsible, but how family firms economically and socially interact with other actors within geographic places to leverage regional processes such as social interactions, learning processes, and information exchange. By doing this, family firms contribute to the improvement of the economic and social conditions favouring positive externalities such as innovation, entrepreneurship, efficiency and internationalization. Therefore, the best family firms can do for sustaining regional development is playing their linking role among family, market, and society. When one of these links is broken, family firms lose their intrinsic sense as it happened in some Latino American countries where family businesses extend their network into the political arena with the intention to sustain monopolies avoiding free market, competence, and innovation.

There is no magic recipe for owner-managers and policy-makers to tell them what to do to foster economic growth and development, but we start knowing that we have to be aware of who family firms are, what they are doing in our close environment, and how they are interacting with other players and institutions. Family firms are not the next miracle for economic growth but they have been and they will continue to be part of our economic and social life.

Regional Familiness – The missing link

This is the second piece in a three-part series on family business and regional development. Read part one: “in search of the missing link”

Part 2: How do family firms interact with the geographic space to boost or hinder regional development?

By Rodrigo Basco, Ph.D.

RegionalI would like to think that there is something in common between the neighborhood of Kreuzberg in Berlin, where the Turkish community has created a dynamic commercial space, and the Herzogenaurach area in Bavaria, where the Adidas headquarters manages one of the biggest footwear businesses in the world. Even more, these two geographical spaces have something in common with the Veneto region in northeastern Italy, where strong export-oriented small- and medium-sized firms dominate the industrial structure.

It is not the location, the size of the firm, or the religion of the owners. . . . rather, what creates certain kinds of regional/local economic dynamism is the existence of family firms in their geographic productive structure.

Family firms link three main institutions in our economic capitalist system: family, market, and society. In this role, family firms may boost or hinder regional processes such as social interactions, learning processes, information exchange, spillovers, and competition dynamic which are important for regional economic development. However making regional processes work is not a spontaneous event, family firms implicitly or explicitly alter one important characteristic of the regional space: proximity.

Turkish shops in Kreuzberg are locally embedded, as Adidas is entrenched in Herzogenaurach and Italian firms are rooted in their region. Family firms are embedded in the local geographical space, thus compelling them to stay where they feel they belong to even during external (e.g., economic and financial) crises. Why is Adidas located in Herzogenaurach when there is likely to be a better fashion location for this kind of firm?

Even though physical proximity operates as a necessary condition for regional processes, it does not guarantee the quality and durability of social interactions, learning processes, information exchange, and spillovers. Family firms shape and re-shape other aspects of proximity dimensions: cognitive, social, organizational, and institutional proximity.
The links between Italian family firms and their family and local traditions has determined the cognitive proximity (i.e., similar mental frame to perceive, interpret, understand, and evaluate the world), making interactive learning processes among actors more efficient, accelerating knowledge transmission, and increasing regional absorptive capacity. In addition to cognitive proximity, family firms are able to shape social proximity, adding trust to economic relationships based on friendship, kinship, and similar experiences and thus facilitating and simplifying them with less agency costs (e.g., control for opportunistic behaviors). The powerful industrial districts in Italy based on incremental innovation and particular style are, to a certain extent, supported by the cognitive and social proximity built by the economic and social actors.

But it is under the structure of an organization, organizational proximity, the way family firms internally formalize economic and social interactions that exist in the family, in the market, and in society. Adidas itself represents an important organization for its location (Herzogenaurach). That is, organizational proximity generates common relationships within the organization and among organizations (stakeholders), developing communication channels and oiling networks to coordinate economic transactions and social interactions by reducing uncertainty as well as by enabling information transfer.

Finally, family firms are able to alter formal and informal norms and codes of conduct that regulate relationships and interactions among individuals, institutions, and organizations – institutional proximity. This has significant consequences for regional/local development because institutions are affected by agents and by their economic and social organizations, while institutions themselves reinforce individual and organizational behavior. For instance, is Adidas behaving with the same moral spirit (i.e., code of conduct) in Herzogenaurach and outside this geographical space, such as in the third world where Adidas shoes are produced through subcontractors? Sure, you have your own answer after knowing the scandals related to production relocation.

The way family firms affect proximity dimensions within geographical space may create positive or negative consequences for regional development. The dark or bright side of family firms in relation to proximity dimensions will be reflected on external agglomeration effects (e.g., industrial clusters and urban agglomerations) and externalities (e.g., innovation, firm performance, firm internationalization, resilient regions, and entrepreneurial spirit). Take a look at your local community, your region, or your country and ask yourself: What role does the family firm play?

Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional development. A theoretical model of regional familiness. Journal of Family Business Strategy.

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