'Best for the family': researching families and business

Mackie, Robin (2001). 'Best for the family': researching families and business. Family and Community History, 4(1) pp. 31–44.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/fch.2001.4.1.004

URL: http://www.fachrs.com/pages/journal/journal_of_fac...


For most of us, the term 'family firm' summons up images of an old-established and perhaps rather conservative business that has been passed down through the generations. This article starts by using a study of one firm to argue that the stereotype conceals significant questions about firms, families and the relations between them. It goes on to outline some recent historical work on family firms by looking, in turn, at research on the incidence and character of family business, on the strategies and performance of companies, and on the family dimension in enterprise. It stresses the importance of the small-scale and the local in this research and notes that historians are now using a wide range sources familiar to local and community historians to develop this field.

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