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Family businesses navigating the COVID-19 pandemic through a gender perspective: the role of external and internal factors in stimulating dynamic capability development

Dafna Kariv (Adelson School of Entrepreneurship, Reichman University, Herzliya, Israel)
Luis Cisneros (HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Florence Guiliani (Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada)
Rahma Chouchane (HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 7 July 2022

Issue publication date: 2 March 2023




The paper aims to decipher, through intertwined external and internal perspectives, how female and male owners of family businesses (FB) that have been affected by the pandemic develop new capabilities to respond to the market's crisis-related needs. Specifically, this study seeks to decipher the role of external support, mediated by the owner's psychological capital (i.e. internal perspective) and moderated by gender, on the development of capabilities related to the market's changing needs, drawing on the dynamic capabilities conceptualization.


A sample of responses from 261 Canadian FB owners was generated during the pandemic, and online questionnaires were distributed.


Regression analyses and Hayes' PROCESS tool revealed that while external support directly invigorates capability development, external support is also mediated by psychological capital and moderated by gender, so that female owners were found less likely to use external support for capability development than men. These findings are explained by women's traditional responsibility in FB of protecting the family from external circumstances. Nevertheless, both women and men orchestrated external support, due to the higher psychological capital of FB, to develop capabilities that respond to pandemic-related market needs.


This study explores and demonstrates the unique navigation of FB owners during crises, and the role of the owner's gender in pursuing capability development. The study's value is in interconnecting external and internal perspectives while probing FB during crises. Implications for the ecosystem's conduct toward FB are discussed.



The authors would like to thank the Réseau Mentorat and the Institute for Entrepreneurship National Bank / HEC Montreal for authorizing us to use the data from the 2020 Quebec Entrepreneurial Index for this research. The authors would also like to thank Adelson School of Entrepreneurship, Reichman University, Herzliya, Israel for their support.


Kariv, D., Cisneros, L., Guiliani, F. and Chouchane, R. (2023), "Family businesses navigating the COVID-19 pandemic through a gender perspective: the role of external and internal factors in stimulating dynamic capability development", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 26-45.



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