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More than a family business: Examining support dynamics in entrepreneurial families navigating institutional challenges

Estrada-Robles, Mariana (2017) More than a family business: Examining support dynamics in entrepreneurial families navigating institutional challenges. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The thesis presents an in-depth examination of entrepreneurial families, focusing on how members of the family support each other by examining familiness in addition to how the institutional context affects family entrepreneurial activity. The research was conducted in Mexico, a challenging institutional environment, where family businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. Entrepreneurial families, defined as families where more than one member is an owner/entrepreneur, represent a setting that is under-researched. The study is particularly concerned with how family members interact, and how these interactions support their individual and collective entrepreneurial activities. Drawing on multiple qualitative case studies of entrepreneurial families in Mexico, the research explores intra and extra family dynamics. The study argues that the entrepreneurial family represents a particularly important organisational form in supporting family members to pursue entrepreneurial activity. The findings demonstrate how members of entrepreneurial families provide each other with resources and capabilities in a way that enable and empower their entrepreneurial activities. This is found to be particularly important in Mexico, which is characterised by a weak formal institutional environment, and therefore the importance of informal institutions is critical given the challenging business environment. In contrast to much existing family business research which focuses on the firm-level and considers a structural view of the family; this study adopts a transactional and socially constructed view of the family beyond biological and legal ties. Through this focus of entrepreneurial families, this thesis develops an empirical typology as the basis for further analysing how members of entrepreneurial families support each other. The analysis advances the construct of familiness to unpack and understand the heterogeneity of entrepreneurial families and the ways in which they provide dynamic and ambidextrous support to firms. By understanding how and why family members leverage these resources and capabilities in pursuing their individual and collective entrepreneurial activities generates new insights about entrepreneurial families and their relationship with the wider institutional environment. Through a conceptual framework of support dynamics, the findings show how members provide each other with advantages which are not replicated in more traditional family firms or for individual entrepreneurs; it also demonstrates how familiness resources and capabilities can be used by non-family firms when they belong to an entrepreneurial family.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Management School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mariana Estrada-Robles
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 10:33
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2018 10:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19930

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