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Dropping family heritage while staying a family business
Högskolan i Skövde.
Högskolan i Skövde.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO). Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Media, Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7962-6211
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to explore the consequences for family businesses and the owning families, when the owners decide to give up the family connection in the name of the business. In family firms, the owner family is often very openly and visibly connected to the firm. This close interconnectedness of family and business is often seen as source for both strength and weaknesses of family businesses (Brunninge, 2017; Tagiuri & Davis, 1996).

Moreover, recent research has identified the past as a source for value (Balmer, 2011; Urde, Greyser & Balmer, 2007). Even family firms can draw on their history, developing their heritage (Blombäck & Brunninge, 2013). Connecting family heritage to the heritage of the firm involves opportunities from a branding perspective, but it also includes risk as the family and its members are exposed to more attention from external audiences (Brunninge, 2017).

Therefore, an interesting question arises, concerning what happens when a business gives up branding itself as a family business. How is identity affected, when the family brand is replaced by a brand not alluding to family ownership? To what extent does this imply that the ties with the firm’s and the family’s heritage are cut?

Design/Methodology/Approach: This study follows a case study approach. The focal company is a third generation family business, started in 1951. The company acquired another firm in 2011. In 2016, the owners decided to give up the traditional family brand and only use the brand of the acquired firm for their operations. The case study draws on interviews with representatives of both companies as well as archival study of both.

Findings: The data collection for the study is still in progress. We expect the findings to show to what extent elements of family heritage and corporate heritage survive the decision to give up the family name in a family business and how members of the owning family

Practical implications: Family businesses stand for the majority of companies in the industrialized world. Connecting family heritage and corporate heritage implies opportunities as well as risks. The paper sheds light on issues that family business owners need to be aware of when deciding about connecting or disconnecting the heritage of the family and that of the firm.

Originality/value: Family business research with connections to marketing, branding or more specifically corporate heritage topics is still scarce. Our paper contributes to family business research by showing how connections of corporate and family heritage can be managed and what dropping the family connection in the name implies for the opportunities to leverage corporate and/or family heritage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
family business, corporate heritage, corporate branding
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-42453OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-42453DiVA, id: diva2:1276130
Conference
6th International Symposium on Corporate Heritage, Paris, France, 18-20 April 2016
Available from: 2019-01-07 Created: 2019-01-07 Last updated: 2019-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Boers, BörjeBrunninge, Olof

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