This paper aims to explore how territory impacts on entrepreneurial families’ (EFs) embeddedness to unveil the role that territories play on the continuity and development of EFs.
To study complex contexts where subjective realities are analyzed, a constructivist qualitative approach is recommended. Given that, this paper develops a qualitative methodology in which 25 semi-structured interviews were carried out and analyzed based upon the use of ATLAS.ti, following an open-coding approach.
This paper found out that the territory can condition EFs’ embeddedness in different ways. First, through the cultural embeddedness, the shared territorial understanding of values and norms inherited by the history of the territory. Second, by the political embeddedness, i.e. the power exercised by territorial economic actors and non-market institutions. Third, through the structural embeddedness generated by the territorial social networks and the generation of close relationships and finally, through the so-called cognitive embeddedness, the territorial actors’ representations, interpretations and meanings. These four modes of territorial embeddedness are unfolded in a set of 16 territorial factors that impact on EFs’ embeddedness. Most of the identified factors, 14 out of the 16, are acting mainly over one of the embeddedness modes studied (cultural, political, structural and cognitive), while two of them, because they are operating simultaneously on various modes of embeddedness, have been considered transversal factors.
EFs have, to a great extent, been recognized as major generators of positive externalities in the territories in which they are located, and to date, the literature has focused on the impact that firms and family firms have on regional development. However, how the territory conditions the embeddedness of these families, especially how it impacts on the EFs’ territorial embeddedness, remains unexplored. This paper proposes a framework of 16 factors that help to understand the embeddedness dynamics between EFs and territories, serving as a starting point for future research avenues. Additionally, regional policy makers may use it as a guidance to build policy mix that considers these territorial factors to boost EFs’ embeddedness.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Basque Association of Family Businesses (AEFAME) and the Basque Government Department of Education, Language policy and Culture (IT885-16) for its financial support in the carry out of Paula Martínez-Sanchis Doctoral dissertation. We are also grateful for the insightful comments Concepción López-Fernández and Mattias Nordqvist provided us with in previous versions of the paper that was presented at the 2nd Workshop on Family Business ‘Strategic and organizational change’ (Vigo University, Ourense, Spain).
Martínez-Sanchis, P., Aragón-Amonarriz, C. and Iturrioz-Landart, C. (2020), "How does the territory impact on entrepreneurial family embeddedness?", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-09-2019-0087
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