Enterprise and Small Business Principles

Family and entrepreneurship

Denise Fletcher

11.1 Introduction

This chapter provides a review of the different approaches that have been utilised to examine the link between family and enterprise. Definitional issues are addressed, as are rationalist and ‘systems’ ways of evaluating the relationship between family and enterprise. Criticism is made of the effects of rationalist thinking on studies of family businesses that have tended to create duality and polarity in our understanding of the family-enterprise relationship. It is argued that a developmental and integrated view of family and enterprise is more useful for understanding the specific transactions linking the institutions of ‘economy’ and ‘family’. A range of approaches and theories that are being used to examine the integration of family and enterprise/business activities are outlined. The chapter concludes with a discussion of interpretive inquiry and its poten­tial benefits or uses in explaining how family and enterprise issues ‘come together’ in small business creation and development.

11.2 Learning objectives

There are four learning objectives in this chapter:

1 To give the reader an understanding of the ways in which family issues and relations link to enterprise activities.

2 To explore the different approaches that have been utilised to examine the link between family relationships and enterprise.

3 To help readers identify key research themes and topics for further inquiry.

4 To encourage reflection on the value of interpretivist ideas and narrative analysis for investigating the dynamics of family and enterprise issues.

Key concepts

■ family ■ family enterprise ■ interpretivist approaches ■ narrative analysis

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