Seminar #8 – November 11, 2020

Work-family Initiatives
and Innovation in Family
and non-Family SMEs


The presenter is Katerina Vasilevska, Doctoral Student at the Centre for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE), University of Bergamo, in Italy. The paper is entitled “Work-family Initiatives and Innovation in Family and non-Family SMEs: Time to Explore the Missing Links?“, the co-authors are Tommaso Minola and Mara Brumana.

date: November 11, 2020

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

location: Zoom (private event)

ABSTRACT – The work-family initiatives are being adopted by organizations for a number of reasons and as such, they have been attracting the attention of the companies as well as that of the academia since few decades now. The work-family initiatives have been associated with a wide range of effects both on employees and on organizations, such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, work motivation as well as improved performance, decreased personnel turnover or improved shareholder returns. By offering work-family initiatives, companies show care towards their employees and their non-work concerns and are motivating them to participate more actively and more creatively in the work activities. However, what recent works highlight is that the link between WFI and broader entrepreneurial outcomes (such as, innovation, patenting or coping with technological discontinuities), has received scant attention. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between the degree of engagement in work-family initiatives and innovation performance in SMEs. Additionally, we explore whether and how family SMEs behave differently from non-family SMEs and the role of a number of family business contingencies, within the family SMEs subsample. Based on survey-based data from manufacturing SMEs in the Bergamo region, we find that overall, the relationship between work-family initiatives and innovation performance is positive. However, when considering family SMEs and some of their peculiarities (including: the degree of family involvement in ownership, management and governance; the coincidence between family and firm name; the family developmental dimension and generational involvement of family members) more nuanced results offer contribution to theory and research of family business, as well as practice.


Katerina Vasilevska

Doctoral Student 

Center for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE) 

University of Bergamo