Family Business

Andrea Colli and Mary Rose

in The Oxford Handbook of Business History

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780199263684
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 Family Business

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Business history is naturally multidisciplinary and this article tracks the relationships between history, organizational and network theory, entrepreneurship, and family dynamics that underpin current research on family business. It surveys and assesses the existing historiography and analyses the way understanding of family firms has developed since the 1960s. By surveying the business-history literature alongside management and sociological approaches to family firms, the article highlights the shifting nature of family capitalism and the changes in the economic contribution and management of family firms through time and space. It shows that business historians have a proud tradition of recognizing that families and firms are inseparable. Yet this analysis can be taken further by combining historical and postmodern social-science methodologies to explore the pivotal and changing role of women in different firms, sectors, and societies.

Keywords: business history; network theory; entrepreneurship; family dynamics; family business

Article.  10261 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Entrepreneurship ; Business History

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