The History of Family Business, 1850-2000

The History of Family Business, 1850-2000

The History of Family Business, 1850-2000

The History of Family Business, 1850-2000

Synopsis

In this 2002 textbook, Andrea Colli gives a historical and comparative perspective on family business, examining through time the different relationships within family businesses and among family enterprises, inside different political and institutional contexts. He compares the performance of family businesses with that of other economic organizations, and looks at how these enterprises have contributed to the evolution of contemporary industrial capitalism. Central to his discussion are the reasons for both the decline and persistence of family business, how it evolved historically, the different forms it has taken over time, and how it has contributed to the growth of single economies. The book summarises previous research into family business, and situates many aspects of family business - such as their strategies, contribution, failure and decline - in an economic, social, political and institutional context. It will be of key interest to students of economic history and business studies.

Excerpt

This book focuses on family business in historical and comparative perspective. Its main aim is to examine through time the evolution of family businesses against varying political and institutional contexts, and to evaluate the performance of family firms in comparison with other forms of business organisations. The ultimate aim is to highlight the contribution of family firms to the evolution of contemporary industrial capitalism. Today, the concept of family business has partially lost its association with the negative notions of backwardness, paternalism, primitive technology, simple organisational structures, and commercial and distributional weakness. Despite the competitive advantages accruing to capital-intensive industries from technology, scale and scope economies, horizontal and vertical integration, and the enlistment of professional managers, since the early 1970s the evolution of knowledge-based industries has emphasised the role of small and medium-sized family businesses. Even if globalisation substantially reaffirmed the key role of the large corporation (Chandler and Hikino 1997: 50ff.; Chandler 1997: 83ff.), the family enterprise has persisted – dynamic, specialised, innovative, flexible, and adaptive to a rapidly changing environment, firmly rooted in regional, often local, entrepreneurial communities, and present in world-wide markets.

This renewal of interest in the virtues of family firms has been accompanied by a growing volume of theoretical and empirical research; the relevance of such firms to the wealth of the nation is illustrated by a growing number of MBA courses in European business schools that address the various aspects of family business management (Corbetta 2001). Likewise, consultants are increasingly specialising in the field. Since 1988, the Family Business Review has . . .

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