Small Business Economics

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 67–84 | Cite as

Entrepreneurial orientation in long-lived family firms

  • Thomas Zellweger
  • Philipp Sieger


We apply a key construct from the entrepreneurship field, entrepreneurial orientation (EO), in the context of long-lived family firms. Our qualitative in-depth case studies show that a permanently high level of the five EO dimensions is not a necessary condition for long-term success, as traditional entrepreneurship and EO literature implicitly suggest. Rather, we claim that the level of EO is dynamically adapted over time and that the original EO scales (autonomy, innovativeness, risk taking, proactiveness, and competitive aggressiveness) do not sufficiently capture the full extent of entrepreneurial behaviors in long-lived family firms. Based on these considerations we suggest extending the existing EO scales to provide a more fine-grained depiction of firm-level corporate entrepreneurship in long-lived family firms.


Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial orientation Family firm Firm survival 

JEL Classifications

L21 L25 L26 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Family BusinessUniversity of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland

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