Seminar #23 – June 30, 2021

Extending Organizational Path Dependency Theory by a Family Business Perspective

Julia K. de Groote
Nadine Kammerlander

date: June 30, 2021

time: 12:00-13:00 (CET)

location: Zoom (private event)

ABSTRACT – We take a qualitative approach to answer the research question of why and how family business peculiarities influence path-formation and path-breaking. We base our findings on the analysis of six in-depth case studies. We identify three concepts, power configuration, chronicle configuration, and network configuration, that influence the strategic actions family firms take in situations characterised by deteriorating external conditions for their business and by organisational path dependencies. We identify different strategic outcomes of path dependent processes. In cases where path-breaking is achieved, firms either pivot their business or develop a novel strategic approach, which we refer to as protecting by renewing. The latter approach encompasses the development of new revenue streams while keeping parts of the original businesses at a typically smaller scale and with lower financial expectations. Based on our findings, we develop a set of four propositions and a process model. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings for family and non-family businesses.

PRESENTER – WHU (Germany), Institute for Family Business and Mittelstand

HOST – Bocconi University (Italy), Chair in Strategic Management in Family Business

DISCUSSANT – University of Bergamo (Italy), Center for Young and Family Enterprise


Julia K. de Groote

Assistant Professor