Abstract

The recent study from Zellweger et al. (2012) showed that 90 percent of their surveyed entrepreneurial families were engaged in more than one firm which explains the rising importance of portfolio entrepreneurship literature in general (Carter and Ram, 2003) and in the family business context in particular (Sieger, Zellweger, Nason and Clinton, 2011). However, while the reasons why business families engage in portfolio entrepreneurship are well-known (Carter and Ram, 2003) and a recent study highlighted how they build up a business portfolio, there is no research about how business families manage an existing business portfolio in the long run. The context of business exit in particular can be a promising value-creating strategy (DeTienne, 2010), as it may not necessarily represent failure but can help preserve socioemotional wealth related to the family firm, notably in times of declining performance. Thus, to add to the understanding of the long-term success and endurance of business families, I investigate how they react to declining performance by engaging in exit strategies in their business portfolios.

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