Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Innovation and the Family Firm: Leadership, Mindsets, Practices and Tensions
by Ingram, Amy E., Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 2011, 167; 3469648
Abstract (Summary)

Family business is a vital economic driver, yet scant attention has been paid to the antecedents of family firm performance. Similarly, family business research remains limited in addressing innovation, despite its central role in firm performance and survival. This dissertation seeks to fill these gaps by unpacking innovation in the family firm. Borrowing from various theoretical lenses, I review factors deemed to fuel family firm performance and to foster organizational innovation. Additionally, scholars posit that family firms are imbued with paradoxical tensions, stemming from the juxtaposition of competing yet complementary values and demands, which can enhance or stymie innovation.

Utilizing structural equation modeling, this study develops and tests a model of family firm innovation, hypothesizing that intergenerational leadership, practices, mindsets, and tensions fuel innovative behavior. The findings explicate the complexity of innovation for family firms, confirming several of the hypothesized relationships. The results highlight the existence of paradoxical tensions and the importance of leadership embracing paradoxical thinking and fostering a climate of risk taking in order to manage these inherent tensions. Moreover, findings suggest that family business leaders need to embrace risk, failure tolerance and think paradoxically to encourage innovative behavior. Additionally, findings stress that traditionally conceptualized antecedents of innovation are more complex in this context. Whereas, resources, idea time, leadership support and authority are traditionally conceptualized as direct drivers of a firm's innovative behavior, in this context, these antecedents are still important, yet mediated by family business leaders' paradoxical thinking, risk taking and failure tolerance.

The results contribute to extant literature in several ways. First, this inquiry extends existing organizational innovation and paradox literatures into the realm of family business. Second, it offers conceptual insights by providing a novel, valid and reliable measures of paradoxical tensions and of family firm innovation. Finally, given the undeniable importance of family business to the economy, this work provides a basis for further inquiry into family firm innovation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lewis, Marianne
Commitee: Barton, Sidney, Pan, Wei
School: University of Cincinnati
Department: Business Administration
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 72/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization Theory
Keywords: Entreprenuership, Family business, Innovation, Leadership, Organizational innovation, Organizational paradox, Tensions
Publication Number: 3469648
ISBN: 9781124858739
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