Understanding Family Businesses

Volume 15 of the series International Studies in Entrepreneurship pp 271-288


New Theoretical Perspectives on Family Business Entrepreneurial Behavior

  • Mary A. BarrettAffiliated withSchool of Management and Marketing, University of Wollongong Email author 
  • , Ken MooresAffiliated withSchool of Business, Bond University

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Family business leaders are often characterized as entrepreneurs (Aldrich and Cliff 2003 ; Shepherd and Haynie 2009 ). In attempting to understand the entrepreneurial thinking of family firm leaders, scholars have typically borrowed from the extant literature on entrepreneurship, which traditionally emphasizes characteristics of individual entrepreneurs such as their personalities, propensity for risk-taking, personal values, and so on. 1 However as Aldrich and Martinez ( 2003 ) point out, there are changes afoot in how entrepreneurship is being studied, including (a) a shift in theoretical emphasis from the characteristics of entrepreneurs as individuals to the consequences of their actions, (b) a deeper understanding of how entrepreneurs use knowledge, resources, and networks to construct and reconstruct fi rms, and (c) a more sophisticated taxonomy of environmental forces at different levels of analysis (population, community, and society) that affect entrepreneurship.