Handling Innovation in Small Family Firms: The Role of Context

  •  Michela Floris    
  •  Angela Dettori    
  •  Cinzia Dessi    


Innovation management in family firms is a paradoxical challenge. The constant tension between innovation and tradition confers to this topic a fascinating mystery area that calls to action scholarly efforts and further studies to underscore whether family firms are innovating or not. This debate becomes even more intriguing and interesting when family businesses are small-sized and embedded in local contexts strongly attached to traditions and cultures that inhibit change. Based on the curiosity of analyzing the innovation proclivity of small family firms rooted in such a context and building on previous studies that were focused on innovation in family run businesses, we deeply investigated two cases. Findings uncovered a twofold and opposite role of the context:  on the one hand, a constraint and, on the other hand, leverage of innovation. Interesting scholars and practical implications are discussed, and future studies are suggested.

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