Kinship and business: how entrepreneurial households facilitate business growth

Gry Agnete Alsos, Sara Carter, Elisabet Ljunggren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Building on studies that have stressed the importance of context and the role of the family in business growth, this study explores the role of the entrepreneurial household in the process of business development and growth. We seek to understand how household strategy influences the development of new businesses, the ways in which household characteristics and dynamics influence business growth strategy decisions and how business portfolios are managed and developed by the household. To examine these questions, comparative case studies were undertaken drawing data from four entrepreneurial households located in remote rural regions of Norway and Scotland. The data reveal the role of the entrepreneurial household in the evolution of business creation and growth, examining the processual aspects of entrepreneurial growth, the interactions between business activities and entrepreneurial households and how business portfolios are developed in practice. Three analytical themes emerged from the analyses: the tightly interwoven connections between the business and the household, the use of family and kinship relations as a business resource base and how households mitigate risk and uncertainty through self-imposed growth controls. Although previous studies have viewed entrepreneurial growth largely as an outcome of personal ambition and business strategy, these results reveal the importance of the entrepreneurial household and the household strategy in determining business growth activities. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-122
Number of pages26
JournalEntrepreneurship & Regional Development
Issue number1-2
Early online date8 Jan 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jan 2014


  • family business
  • entrepreneurial growth
  • rural areas
  • households
  • business growth

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