The antecedents of entrepreneurial risk-taking in private family firms: CEO seasons and contingency factors

  • Alessandro CirilloEmail author
  • Luca Pennacchio
  • Maria Rosaria Carillo
  • Mauro Romano


This article investigates how entrepreneurial risk-taking in family firms is shaped by CEO tenure, generational involvement, and CEO founder status. We used a dynamic panel data model with a large sample of Italian family firms over the period 2003–2012. Consistent with the theoretical framework of Hambrick and Fukutomi. Academy of Management Review, 16:719-742 (1991), we showed that CEO tenure has a concave relationship with entrepreneurial risk-taking. We step forward to understand whether this relationship is shaped by the number of family generations simultaneously involved in the firm and CEO founder status. We provided evidence that the impact of CEO tenure on risk-taking is strengthened if generational involvement in the business is high, and is inverted if the CEO is also the founder of the firm.


Entrepreneurial risk-taking Family firms CEO tenure Generational involvement CEO founder 

JEL classifications

L26 D81 C23 



The authors personally thank Salvatore Sciascia and Jolien Huybrechts for their constructive and insightful feedback on previous versions of this article. The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments provided by colleagues during IFERA 2017.

Funding information

Maria Rosaria Carillo and Luca Pennacchio are supported by the Parthenope University through the research grant ‘Bando di Ateneo per il sostegno alla partecipazione ai bandi di ricerca competitiva per il triennio 2016-2018’.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Business and EconomicsParthenope University of NaplesNaplesItaly

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