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Women in Latin American family businesses: an institutional logics perspective

Georges Samara (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Maria Lapeira (Department of Strategy and International Business, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 15 August 2022

Issue publication date: 17 March 2023




The authors conceptually theorize the obstacles and opportunities that women encounter in family businesses embedded in Latin America, by differentiating between two clusters of countries embedded in this continent.


Using secondary data obtained from various sources, the authors adopted a flexible pattern matching methodology, which involves linking theoretical propositions with actual observed patterns. For each proposition, the authors categorize the comparison with the observed data as either confirming or rivaling the expected patterns in the clusters.


This study’s findings reveal that women have more leadership and employment opportunities in the first cluster (Brazil, Chile, and Mexico) than in the second (Argentina, Colombia, and Peru). The authors propose that these differences are the result of higher tolerance for women in political leadership positions and of the presence of larger and more internationally expanding corporations in the first cluster. We also find differences between two groups of women: female family members and female nonfamily members, with the former being granted much more opportunities than the latter.

Practical implications

This research increases the understanding of potential avenues for managers and policymakers in Latin America to foster gender diversity as a means to remain competitive in a global market. While actions at the state level may be more long-term oriented, others, such as those taken by small and medium-sized family businesses may have more immediate effects in minimizing gender biases and encouraging a greater participation of females in business.


By differentiating between two clusters of countries in Latin America, and by making careful consideration of whether females have family ties, the authors provide a more realistic and contextualized theoretical map that depicts the situation of women in Latin American family businesses. This contextualization is one of the first that attempts to examine how multiple institutional logics impact women in family businesses in an underexplored region of the world while differentiating between female family members and female nonfamily members. These findings inform policymakers and family business owners in Latin America on the peculiar challenges that women encounter in their context, while calling for more measures promote the active presence of females in Latin American family businesses.



Samara, G. and Lapeira, M. (2023), "Women in Latin American family businesses: an institutional logics perspective", Management Decision, Vol. 61 No. 3, pp. 720-745.



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