When Family Members Are Also Business Owners: Is Entrepreneurship Good for Families?

By Jennings, Jennifer E.; Breitkreuz, Rhonda S. et al. | Family Relations, July 2013 | Go to article overview

When Family Members Are Also Business Owners: Is Entrepreneurship Good for Families?


Jennings, Jennifer E., Breitkreuz, Rhonda S., James, Albert E., Family Relations


This article represents a call to family scholars for help in examining the effects of business ownership on families. To demonstrate the importance of this call, we illustrate the extent to which new venture creation is encouraged by policymakers and estimate the number of families engaged in entrepreneurial activity around the globe. We then summarize emergent critiques questioning the glorification of entrepreneurship in general and review the limited body of scholarly work examining the effects on families in particular. We conclude by outlining potential research agendas for several domains of family scholarship, providing examples of the provocative questions that arise when business ownership is explicitly acknowledged as a factor likely to impact family dynamics and well-being.

Key Words: business ownership, entrepreneurship, family business, family well-being.

This article has a lofty aim. We hope to entice family scholars to join us in an important and timely quest - enhancing knowledge about the implications of entrepreneurship for family well-being. By entrepreneurship, we follow Shane (2008) in referring simply to "the activity of organizing, managing, and assuming the risks of a business or enterprise" (p. 2). (Accordingly, family businesses would be subsumed under this broad definition. By family businesses, we are referring to firms controlled primarily by a family and in which at least two family members work. By family, we are referring to two or more individuals related by blood, adoption, or marriage or a marital-like relationship.) Although the term entrepreneurship continues to be vigorously debated by entrepreneurship scholars, one observation is far less contended - the rhetoric regarding the benefits of fostering entrepreneurial activity. Indeed, a commonly heard refrain is that new business creation is not only a key driver of economic growth and development (if not the key driver), but also a potential solution to many of the world's social and environmental problems. Entrepreneurship, in other words, is often viewed and portrayed as a socioeconomic panacea, thereby attracting considerable policy attention and funding.

Although critiques of this glamorization of entrepreneurship are starting to emerge, to date there has been very little questioning of whether new venture creation and business ownership are inevitably beneficial for families; that is, whether business ownership contributes to the social and emotional well-being of family members, family cohesion (togetherness), marital quality, workfamily integration, and the ability of family members to achieve their individual and family goals. As a result, the following comment by Baines and Wheelock (1998) is as valid today as it was 15 years ago: "The effects of ... policy interventions on die lives and livelihoods of families dependent, often newly dependent, on small business activity have been alarmingly overlooked" (p. 16).

This article represents a call to family scholars for assistance in addressing this important gap. By studying whether business ownership is good for families, collectively we will be able to provide policymakers with a more reflective and comprehensive understanding of the benefits and costs associated with promoting entrepreneurship so fervently as the world's next Holy Grail. This article offers three foundational elements on which to build a programmatic line of research capable of achieving such a goal. First, we provide illustrative data to document the extensive policy interest in entrepreneurship and the prevalence of businessowning families in various countries around the world. Second, we review emergent work questioning the predominantly uncritical stance toward entrepreneurship and the limited set of existing studies that have examined how business ownership affects family dynamics and well-being. Third, we develop an agenda for extending such research by demonstrating the types of questions that could be addressed within five prominent domains of current family scholarship. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

When Family Members Are Also Business Owners: Is Entrepreneurship Good for Families?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.