Organizational learning and entrepreneurship in family firms: Exploring the moderating effect of ownership and cohesion

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Abstract

Organizational learning can significantly improve family firms' ability to counter by stimulating entrepreneurship. Applying the behavioral theory of the firm, this study empirically examines the effect of family ownership on the breadth, depth, and speed of organizational learning. Each of these dimensions can influence entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the effect of ownership on organizational learning depends on family cohesiveness, the extent to which members of the owner family feel closeness, mutual solidarity, and the desire to stick together. Data from 741 firms show that family ownership is positively associated with the breadth and speed of learning but is negatively associated with the depth of learning. Though cohesiveness does not alleviate the negative effect of family ownership on the depth of learning, it amplifies the effect of family ownership on the breadth and speed of learning. Organizational learning, especially its breadth and depth, positively influences the pace of family firms' entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalSmall Business Economics
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Keywords

  • Behavioral theory of the firm
  • Family firms
  • Learning theory
  • Organizational learning

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