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Human determinants influencing the digital transformation strategy of multigenerational family businesses: a multiple-case study of five French growth-oriented family firms

Blandine Ano (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)
Richard Bent (Queen Margaret Business School, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 14 May 2021

326

Abstract

Purpose

In a context of technological disruption, companies face a digital imperative to adopt successfully emerging new technologies. While family firms have a huge potential for growth and innovation, they may – due to idiosyncratic but often limited resources, have to address the complex challenges induced by digital technologies introduction. The purpose of this paper is to explore how human and cultural resources influence the formulation and implementation of five French family firms' digital strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a phenomenological epistemology, semi-structured interviews among different generational cohorts of family business owners.

Findings

The thematic analysis highlights five main cultural and psychological determinants holding the potential for positive and synergetic outcomes while implementing a digital strategy: the change management nurtured by long-term sustainability, the emotional attachment to the firm, the entrepreneurial legacy influence, the personalised involvement of individual family members and the family owners' central focus on employees.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first research projects exploring the digital transformation process of family businesses from the perspective of the firm's human capital. The participants of the study reveal idiosyncratic attitudes such as long-term orientation, entrepreneurial bridging and non-economic goals leading to competitive advantages and transgenerational wealth creation.

Keywords

Citation

Ano, B. and Bent, R. (2021), "Human determinants influencing the digital transformation strategy of multigenerational family businesses: a multiple-case study of five French growth-oriented family firms", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFBM-12-2020-0117

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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