Research Output

Family business networks: mulit-rational perspectives on networking in family owned and managed small and micro-businesses.

  This portfolio considers the manner in which family businesses network.
Networks are vital for small and micro-businesses but within current research
mono-rationalist approaches, where the business is studied in relative
isolation from the social component, predominate, despite an acceptance that
in family businesses a family and a business co-exist. The report and papers
within this portfolio argue that alternative perspectives on family business
networks exist and can form appropriate frameworks for research.
Specifically, an expansion of current network theory to include factors not
directly relevant to the business but which by existing may influence the
business is proposed, characterised here as theories of multiple rationalities.
Multi-rational perspectives on family business networks offer, it is argued,
greater understanding of the co-existence of family, friendship and business
This portfolio contains four components. A report sets family business
research in context and summarises the over-arching conclusions of the
portfolio. Output One comprises a literature review using secondary sources
to examine current developments in family business research. Notably,
discussion surrounding multiple-rationalities in the strategy literature is
pertinent to the study of networks and provides the basis for the schematic
model developed in Output One.
Output Two considers family businesses in a peri-urban area, providing
evidence to support the use of multi-rational approaches and concludes with
two illustrative case studies which allow the additional network links visible
using multi-rational perspectives to be viewed. Output Three presents a case
study of a family with a distinct and on-going pattern of business start-up,
whose approaches to networking are explored from a multi-rational
In addition to the business implications, the implications for policy and
business support research are considerable. If family businesses draw on
networks for business support, understanding networks should form a vital
part of both policy and the business support landscape.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 January 2011

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management


Seaman, C. E. A. Family business networks: mulit-rational perspectives on networking in family owned and managed small and micro-businesses. (Thesis)


Family; business; micro-business; networks; business support;

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