A recent stream of research, the family embeddedness perspective on entrepreneurship, proposed by Cliff and Aldrich (2003) and extended by Jennings and McDougald (2007) in their Work Family Interface (WFI) framework, calls for research into the interface of family and work as an important situational factor that can affect entrepreneurial decision making and outcomes. This interface is maximized when the owner decides to employ relatives in the firm. However, the consequences of this decision for firm performance have never been examined from a family embeddedness perspective.

This study uses this perspective to test the direct impact of work family conflict on business performance in the context of micro and small family enterprises. Two determinants of the WFI model identified by Jennings and McDougald (2007) are used in this study: First, and with respect to how individual differences affect owner’s ability to cope with work family conflict, we argue that the influence of family involvement on firm performance differs according to owner’s gender. Second, and turning to family-domain determinants, we contend that when the venture is the primary source of income for the owner’s household coping mechanisms are more difficult to implement. This would provide more stress to the work family nexus and would have implications for firm performance.