Unlocking innovation potential: A typology of family business innovation postures and the critical role of the family system
De Massis A
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How can family firms unlock their innovation potential? Despite the recent growth in research on family business innovation, existing literature has yielded controversial findings. Family firms are recognized as more conservative and steadfast to their tradition, however many of the most innovative firms worldwide are family businesses. This points to an apparent willingness-ability paradox in family business innovation. Drawing on family business innovation and family systems literature, we argue that family characteristics are an important yet overlooked driver of this paradoxical tension. We develop the construct of family business innovation posture, and identify a typology of four ideal types: Seasoner, Re-enactor, Digger, and Adventurer. Furthermore, we explore and illustrate with empirical data the necessary fit between the family business innovation posture and family-related dimensions to resolve the willingness-ability paradox. The article examines the implications of the typology for family business innovation research by exploring the effects of intra-family succession, outlining important directions for future research aimed at advancing current understanding of the role of the family in family business innovation, and providing practical insights for family business owners, managers, and consultants. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
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