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Stepchildren or prodigal employees? Motives and consequences of employee entrepreneurship in family business

Author

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  • Francesca Ricciardi

    (University of Turin)

  • Elisa Giacosa

    (University of Turin)

  • Francesca Culasso

    (University of Turin)

Abstract

How do factors that are specific of family firms (such as the cross-generational logic) influence, and are influenced by, the phenomenon of employee entrepreneurship? Despite a burgeoning stream on nonfamily members in family firms, the relationship between familiness and employee entrepreneurship has been overlooked that far. This study addresses this gap and explores how familiness co-evolves with employee entrepreneurship in an exemplary longitudinal case involving two enterprises: a family firm founded by an ex-employee spanning 20 years and two generations, and its originating enterprise, a family firm (itself stemming from employee entrepreneurship, as well) spanning 150 years and five generations. The in-depth analysis of this case, based on thick source triangulation and mixed top-down and bottom-up coding, allows us to inductively propose a model of the key attributes of familiness that are relevant to the phenomenon of employee entrepreneurship, and their consequences. The proposed model highlights previously hidden aspects and consequences of familiness, including the perceived role of ex-employees as “prodigal stepchildren”, the cross-generational mirroring effect between the generating firm and the spawn, and the possible role of the new ventures stemming from employee entrepreneurship as sources of inter-generational spill-in processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Ricciardi & Elisa Giacosa & Francesca Culasso, 2021. "Stepchildren or prodigal employees? Motives and consequences of employee entrepreneurship in family business," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 229-247, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:intemj:v:17:y:2021:i:1:d:10.1007_s11365-020-00732-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s11365-020-00732-4
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