Innovation Motives in Family Firms: A Transgenerational View


Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice


Drawing on the transgenerational entrepreneurship perspective, we employ a multiple case study approach to investigate why multigenerational family firms innovate. The data collection process drew upon five in-depth cases comprising 42 semistructured interviews, 25 participant observations, and several thousand pages of historical data dating from 1916 to 2017. We find patterns on how the firms’ long-term view—embracing both the past and the future—influences the innovation motives of these firms. Specifically, we identify three innovation patterns: conserving, persisting and legacy-building. We introduce a set of propositions and a framework linking long-term orientation dimensions to innovation motives and innovation outcomes. Our research thus contributes to a more fine-grained understanding of innovation behavior in family firms.



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