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Family business networks: mulit-rational perspectives on networking in family owned and managed small and micro-businesses

Seaman, Claire Elizabeth Anne


Claire Elizabeth Anne Seaman


This portfolio considers the manner in which family businesses network. Networks are vital for small and micro-businesses but within current research mono-rationalist approaches, where the business is studied in relative isolation from the social component, predominate, despite an acceptance that in family businesses a family and a business co-exist. The report and papers within this portfolio argue that alternative perspectives on family business networks exist and can form appropriate frameworks for research.
Specifically, an expansion of current network theory to include factors not directly relevant to the business but which by existing may influence the business is proposed, characterised here as theories of multiple rationalities. Multi-rational perspectives on family business networks offer, it is argued, greater understanding of the co-existence of family, friendship and business networks.
This portfolio contains four components. A report sets family business research in context and summarises the over-arching conclusions of the portfolio. Output One comprises a literature review using secondary sources to examine current developments in family business research. Notably, discussion surrounding multiple-rationalities in the strategy literature is pertinent to the study of networks and provides the basis for the schematic model developed in Output One.
Output Two considers family businesses in a peri-urban area, providing evidence to support the use of multi-rational approaches and concludes with two illustrative case studies which allow the additional network links visible using multi-rational perspectives to be viewed. Output Three presents a case study of a family with a distinct and on-going pattern of business start-up, whose approaches to networking are explored from a multi-rational perspective.
In addition to the business implications, the implications for policy and business support research are considerable. If family businesses draw on networks for business support, understanding networks should form a vital part of both policy and the business support landscape.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 5, 2012
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Family; business; micro-business; networks; business support
Public URL
Contract Date Oct 5, 2012
Award Date 2011-02


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