Managing Family Firm Survivability and Continuity Dynamics. A Comparison of UK-based Punjabi First- and Second-Generation Family Firms.




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This study aimed at exploring the idiosyncratic elements of a family business (FB hereafter) and its impact on survivability and continuity dynamics in Punjabi-Indian family firms. In order to analyse these elements, family relationships were examined. Understanding the nature of family dynamics in ethnic minority-owned FBs based in the UK has rarely been subject to academic scrutiny. Using recent discussions surrounding behavioural theory literature unveiled family members, as key stakeholders of a family firm, play an important role in the success and survival of the FB. The stakeholder theory and mapping technique identified the extent of power, control and influence of family members according to the multiple roles they adopted in the FB. Key family stakeholders in the business, especially female founders and next generation children, controlled succession and other survivability decisions. The socioemotional wealth perspective (SEW) and sequentially the FIBER scale were also used to identify the importance of pursuing non-economic goals (e.g., generational succession) to meet the family’s affective needs and preserve its familiness resource. More explicitly the dark side of familiness was found in altruistic relationships that jeopardised family firm survival and continuity. Both recent behavioural theories provided significant insight into how Punjabi-Indian family firms managed survivability and continuity. A series of qualitative focus group interviews were undertaken with 10 Punjabi-Indian FBs. All FB cases included in this research were defined as being owned, managed and daily operated by family members. The study findings advances 3 main conclusions. First, three factors determined family firm survivability: business successoriented children, family members using the FB as a career safety net and perceiving the FB undesirable as a career choice. Second, the position of family members in ownership and management roles did not influence the extent of power, control and influence they had over the FB. Instead, family relationships and dynamics influenced FB survival and continuity. Lastly, women contributed to family firm survivability by being empowered from their previous business knowledge, experience, and Britishborn advantages. These attributes gave Punjabi-Indian women resource advantage which was essential in the establishment, success and survival of most of the FB enterprises. II Findings have shown, the lack of next generation involvement in Punjabi-Indian family firms represents problematic succession and continuity of the FB. This threatens the survivability and future existence of ethnic minority family businesses. As a result, this study contributes towards knowledge on survivability in ethnic minority family firms and advances SEW theory by proposing ‘relationships between family members’ as the sixth dimension of the FIBER scale. Currently the impact of family relationships is neglected in FB theory and literature thus, this new dimension acknowledges family relationships are a unique aspect of FBs which can either generate SEW or be destructive towards family firm survivability and continuity dynamics. Further practical contributions include recommending ethnic minority family business owners to offer tied transfer agreements to generate family stakeholder engagement towards generational succession, and the government to provide better financing opportunities to ethnic minority businesses, as well as implementing mentorship and/or business leadership programs to engage the next generation of FB successors. Overall, the aim of this research study was accomplished, and all research questions were answered.





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