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Daughters taking over the family business: Their justification work within a dual regime of engagement

Silvia Gherardi (Research Unit on Communication, Organizational Learning and Aesthetics, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Manuela Perrotta (School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 14 March 2016




This paper aims to explore gender and legitimacy in family business succession.


Within the theoretical framework of French pragmatic sociology, the authors conceptualise the family business as the locus where two regimes of engagement are present, generating the co-presence of two orders of worth, namely the domestic and the industrial. Taking a processual approach to entrepreneuring, and using case studies of small enterprises in Italy, this paper explores the case of daughters taking over the family firms.


The paper shows how the daughters’ perceived gender inequality in the succession process is justified and how the justification work and the production of legitimacy are accomplished, shifting from one order of worth to the other.


The value of the contribution consists in pointing to how gender inequality is reproduced and justified inside the family business. The dual regime of engagement is what justifies the reproduction of a specific gender regime within the family business. Moreover, the paper adds a “gender” perspective to French pragmatist sociology.



The work presented in this paper is a shared effort of the two authors, who were equally involved in conducting the research and intellectually conceiving and writing the paper. If for academic reasons, individual authorship is to be assigned, Silvia Gherardi wrote Sections 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8, while Manuela Perrotta wrote the other Sections.


Gherardi, S. and Perrotta, M. (2016), "Daughters taking over the family business: Their justification work within a dual regime of engagement", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 28-47.



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