An exploratory investigation on NPD in Small Family Businesses from Northern Italy
De Massis A
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The purpose of this exploratory study is to provide an understanding of the role of the family in the new product development (NPD) process of small family businesses (SFBs). The impact of the family on the business and innovation activities happens through a combination of social interaction, networks, family business corporate identity, family goals, dynamics, values, culture and heritage that act on the company in several forms of behaviour, actions, decisions and plans, as suggested by Kansikas. Through a conceptual analysis and four case studies the research attempts to conceptualise the impact of the family on SFBs’ NPD processes. The objective is to empirically analyse small firms’ family pressure in the context of the NPD operations. Theory has been explored in three areas; the first one regards the specific features of family firms and the impact of the ‘family’ on the business, the second one the activities composing the NPD process, and the third one the NPD and innovation in the specific context of family businesses. The gathered empirical data are analysed by exploring and comparing the understanding of theoretical concepts with qualitative data from the small family firms’ innovation processes.