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How do family entrepreneurs recognize opportunities? Three propositions

Silke Tegtmeier (Department of Innovation and Design Engineering, Syddansk Universitet, Sønderborg, Denmark)
Christina Classen (Department of Start-up Management, Leuphana Universitat Luneburg Fakultat Wirtschaft, Luneburg, Germany)

Review of International Business and Strategy

ISSN: 2059-6014

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




Opportunity recognition (OR) is a key factor in the entrepreneurial process. The purpose of the paper is to elaborate on whether OR, such as related to internationalization strategies, by/in family businesses differs from OR by other companies or individuals, and if yes, to what extent.


Taking a conceptual perspective, the authors combine OR and family business knowledge to develop propositions on how family entrepreneurs recognize opportunities.


The authors develop three propositions about OR in entrepreneurial families. Specifically, they suggest that storytelling strengthens OR in family businesses and helps to hold on to tacit opportunities. They also address their special human capital resources. These advantages together with their long-term orientation lead to the proposition that family businesses are more likely to recognize opportunities than non-family businesses.

Research limitations/implications

These findings contribute to an increased understanding of the role of OR in family business research and offer an operational base for future quantitative and qualitative studies.

Practical implications

The insights in this paper are valuable for practitioners and policymakers as well. Practitioners will get feedback on their own family business management by reflecting on the findings reported and will be able to put the theses into a wider context. Politicians wishing to support family businesses need to understand the specifics of this entrepreneurial process to create good conditions for their development and sustainability.


This conceptual paper marries the two parallel “streams” of theory and practice of entrepreneurship and family business.



Tegtmeier, S. and Classen, C. (2017), "How do family entrepreneurs recognize opportunities? Three propositions", Review of International Business and Strategy, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 199-216.



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