Small Business Economics

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 33–49 | Cite as

Entrepreneurial orientation in family firms: a generational perspective

  • Cristina Cruz
  • Mattias NordqvistEmail author


We adopt a generational perspective to investigate entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in family firms. We test a model that determines how the influence on EO of external factors and internal factors differs in first-, second- and third-and-beyond-generation family firms. We argue that while the founder is vital in the first generation, EO is more subject to interpretations of the competitive environment in the second generation and that in the third generation and beyond, access to non-family resources drives EO to a greater extent. Our findings show that perceptions of the competitive environment and EO correlate differently in family firms, depending on the generation in charge, and it is generally stronger in second-generation family firms. Further, we find that non-family managers on the top management team makes a positive difference for EO only in the third-generation and beyond family firms. The significance of non-family investors’ on EO is particularly strong in third-generation-and-beyond firms.


Entrepreneurial orientation Family businesses Generation Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) 

JEL Classifications

L26 M1 M10 



The authors thank the four guest editors and two reviewers for their constructive and helpful feedback on previous versions of this article. Mattias Nordqvist thanks The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO) for generous financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de EmpresaMadridSpain
  2. 2.Jönköping International Business SchoolJönköpingSweden

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