In family firms, the intertwinement of the family and the business systems gives the former a crucial role in forging principles, values, and competences that affect entrepreneurial decision-making and outcomes. For example, family structure, members’ roles and relationships impact the resources made available to the firm and their use, both statically (i.e. at a given point in time) and dynamically (i.e. through family development and transitions, such as childbirth and marriage, but also divorce and death). Family-related norms, attitudes and their evolution also have implications on entrepreneurial behaviours (e.g., opportunity recognition, new business start-up decisions) and outcomes (e.g., survival, fulfilment of economic and non-economic goals). Scholars agree it is increasingly important to adopt a family perspective and to focus on the enterprising family as a yet unexploited unit of analysis in entrepreneurship research.
The aim of the conference is to create a fertile ground to a) support the development of theories of the enterprising family; b) favour the disciplinary cross-fertilization of family studies and entrepreneurship fields (e.g., the application of family science theory to investigate entrepreneurship); c) frame and systematize the contribution of management theories (e.g., agency theory, stewardship theory, socio-emotional wealth perspective, resource based view, …) to the theorizing on the enterprising family. Such theorizing effort at the “enterprising family” unit of analysis has relevant implications for practice too. Family business practitioners and educators can benefit from this line of inquiry, by recognizing the challenges related to family issues, which should be considered as complementary to the much more discussed business ones in fostering entrepreneurial potential of family firms.