Long-term family firm survival and growth considering owning family adaptive capacity and federal disaster assistance receipt

Kathryn Stafford, Sharon M. Danes, George W. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Natural disasters are expected to increase in number and severity. This study initiates a stream of research on effective family business strategies to address the threat of natural disasters to long-term survival and growth of family firms. The purpose of this study was to analyze the mitigating effects of the owning family's adaptive capacity and federal disaster assistance on long-term survival and growth of family firms. Data for 282 family firms in the National Family Business Panel were merged with data on federal disaster assistance from the Public Entity Risk Institute. Indicators of family adaptive capacity had both more numerous significant effects and larger effects on survival and growth than did business characteristics. Experiencing fewer negative family stressors meant a greater likelihood of remaining open from 1997 to 2007 and increasing revenue from 2000 to 2007. Consistent family leadership in times of stability and change and resource focused-management practices decreased the likelihood of survival. Family firms benefitted indirectly from federal disaster assistance to the county and directly from federal disaster assistance when a natural disaster hit their own family firms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Business Strategy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CMS-0625326 . Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The results reported in this study also use data collected by Cooperative Regional Research Project NC-1030, partially supported by the Cooperative States Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES); U.S.D.A, Baruch College, the experiment stations at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Illinois, Purdue University (Indiana), Iowa State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Minnesota, Montana State University, Cornell University (New York), North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, Utah State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Any opinions, results, and conclusions are solely those of the authors.

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adaptive capacity
  • Family business
  • Natural disasters
  • Small business
  • Survival
  • Sustainable family business theory


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