How do family entrepreneurs recognize opportunities? Three propositions

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Opportunity recognition (OR) is a key factor in the entrepreneurial process. The purpose of the paper is to elaborate on whether OR, such as related to internationalization strategies, by/in family businesses differs from OR by other companies or individuals, and if yes, to what extent. Design/methodology/approach: Taking a conceptual perspective, the authors combine OR and family business knowledge to develop propositions on how family entrepreneurs recognize opportunities. Findings: The authors develop three propositions about OR in entrepreneurial families. Specifically, they suggest that storytelling strengthens OR in family businesses and helps to hold on to tacit opportunities. They also address their special human capital resources. These advantages together with their long-term orientation lead to the proposition that family businesses are more likely to recognize opportunities than non-family businesses. Research limitations/implications: These findings contribute to an increased understanding of the role of OR in family business research and offer an operational base for future quantitative and qualitative studies. Practical implications: The insights in this paper are valuable for practitioners and policymakers as well. Practitioners will get feedback on their own family business management by reflecting on the findings reported and will be able to put the theses into a wider context. Politicians wishing to support family businesses need to understand the specifics of this entrepreneurial process to create good conditions for their development and sustainability. Originality/value: This conceptual paper marries the two parallel “streams” of theory and practice of entrepreneurship and family business.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Business and Strategy
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Family entrepreneurship strategy

    Research areas

  • Entrepreneurial behavior, Family business, Human capital, Internationalization, Long-term orientation, Opportunity recognition, Ownership, Storytelling, System-theory
  • Management studies