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Family embeddedness and business performance: evidences from women-owned firms

Michela Mari (Department of Management and Law,Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy)
Sara Poggesi (Department of Management and Law, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy)
Luisa De Vita (Department of Social Sciences, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 21 March 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the family context may affect female firms’ performance by contextualising the study within Italy and empirically analysing 307 Italian women-owned firms.


By using ordinal regressions, this paper empirically investigates the influence of three dimensions of the family context on female firms’ performance, namely: the motivations to start a business; the support from the family once the business is established; and the mechanisms to achieve a suitable balance between work and family life.


Overall, the results offer substantial support for the assumption that female business owners benefit from being pulled into the endeavour, from specific linkages with family and also from selected mechanisms to balance work and family life, thus contributing to show how strong the relationship between a firm’s performance and the family context is for women.


Today female entrepreneurship represents an important economic driver worldwide, leading scholars to strongly advocate the need to shift the female entrepreneurship research focus from the analysis of women business owners’ characteristics to the investigation of those specific factors able to directly affect female firms’ activities. In this vein, this paper aims at pushing further into the still less studied domain of work/family intertwinement as, surprisingly, the impact that family-related factors exert on women-owned businesses’ performance is still under-researched.



Mari, M., Poggesi, S. and De Vita, L. (2016), "Family embeddedness and business performance: evidences from women-owned firms", Management Decision, Vol. 54 No. 2, pp. 476-500.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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