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Delineating the Path of Family Firm Innovation: Mapping the Scientific Structure

Abstract

Research on family firm innovation (FFI) has grown exponentially in recent years, as evidenced by the growing number of authors devoted to its study. However, to date, numerous questions remain unsolved about how family firms are coping with different innovation issues. In this context, this study aims to explore the scientific literature on FFI through performance indicators of scientific production, social networks of collaborations between authors and the intellectual and conceptual structures of the field. To accomplish this goal, bibliometric techniques are conducted, namely co-author, co-citation and co-word analyses. This study is carried out through a review of 975 published documents on FFI retrieved from the Web of Science and Scopus databases during the period 1987–2019. The findings reveal the richness of the FFI field and allows this large body of work to be organized into four theoretical roots and five thematic clusters. Additionally, this study proposes an integrative framework aimed at advancing new knowledge on the available research paths on FFI and identifying new research avenues to further develop the field. Hence, our research enriches the lively debate on FFI by offering a better understanding of the heterogeneous innovation behaviour of family firms.

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Acknowledgements

Rubén Martínez-Alonso wants to acknowledge the funding received by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities in the form of a Research Grant to develop his PhD (FPU-17/01359), and thereby, this paper.

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Correspondence to María de las Mercedes Capobianco-Uriarte.

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Casado-Belmonte, M.d., Capobianco-Uriarte, M.d., Martínez-Alonso, R. et al. Delineating the Path of Family Firm Innovation: Mapping the Scientific Structure. Rev Manag Sci 15, 2455–2499 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-021-00442-3

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Keywords

  • Innovation
  • Family firms
  • Co-authorship
  • Co-word analysis
  • Co-citation
  • Bibliometrics

JEL Classification

  • M1
  • O3