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Exploring alternative strategic management paradigms in high-growth ethnic and non-ethnic family firms

Abstract

The primary research question examined in this paper is whether ethnic and non-ethnic family firms in the United Kingdom differ in their strategy-making. The paper uses the typology of strategic decision-making produced by Whittington [(1993). What is strategy: and does it matter? New York: Routledge] to derive contrasting predictions of strategy-making by ethnic versus non-ethnic firms. Drawing on a questionnaire study of 76 high-growth family firms, and subsequent in-depth fieldwork with 40 of these, the findings show that the ethnic origin of the controlling family has a significant influence in determining the dominance of a particular strategy paradigm. However, successful high-growth family firms are not associated with any particular school of strategy. The influence of family bonding on strategy-making was greater in ethnic family firms than non-ethnic family firms. The advent of the second generation of South Asians in family firms, and closer integration of immigrant and host communities, has not altered these apparent differences. The findings challenge researchers on family firms to adopt a multiple perspective approach to strategy-making.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. UK state-sponsored but quasi-independent business advice centres organised on a sub-regional basis.

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Bhalla, A., Lampel, J., Henderson, S. et al. Exploring alternative strategic management paradigms in high-growth ethnic and non-ethnic family firms. Small Bus Econ 32, 77–94 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-007-9064-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-007-9064-z

Keywords

  • Family firms
  • SMEs
  • Ethnicity
  • Strategy

JEL Classifications

  • M13
  • L26