An article that analyses and organises over one hundred studies on family-run businesses was published a few weeks ago


Family and company as an indivisible whole. Shared intents as well as a shared life. With particular rules and stories that must be thoroughly understood to be evaluated. The expression of a manufacturing culture with well-defined sections, family-run businesses nevertheless have common traits, that transcend dimensional features and which have been the subject of numerous studies and insights.

A collection of analyses and of real case studies of family-run businesses is contained in “Researching Entrepreneurship in Family Firms” written by many hands by

Cristina Bettinelli (from the University of Bergamo), Salvatore Sciascia (from the IULM of Milan), Kathleen Randerson (of the Audencia Business School-France) and Alain Fayolle (of the Emlyon Business School, France) and just published in the Journal of small business management. The article gathers a systematic review of the literature of 109 articles written on the subject of family entrepreneurship with particular attention to antecedents, the results and the processes of entrepreneurship in this kind of business. The authors also offer a brief summary of the contributions of each of the researches listed.

What emerges is a comprehensive portrait of the family-run business, described in their various facets and in particular analysed from the point of view of the original concepts as well as in the management dynamics characterised by family and organisational ties. With a special focus on the impact on the end results – of the balance sheet but also in terms of development and relations with the outside -, that the “family-run” aspect can have. The family as a resource for the company, therefore, but also as a constraint to manage.

The article written by Bettinelli, Sciascia, Randerson and Fayolle has the great merit of sorting out a subject – that of the study of family-run businesses – that is rather complicated and multi-faceted and of doing so with method and clarity.



Researching Entrepreneurship in Family Firms

Cristina Bettinelli, Salvatore Sciascia, Kathleen Randerson and Alain Fayolle

Journal of Small business management, Volume 55, Issue 4, October 2017