Eric Clinton

Eric Clinton

PhD Thesis Title: Strategic Entrepreneurship in Multi-Generational Family Firms : A Resource Management Perspective.

Supervisor: Professor Frank Roche

External Examiner: Professor Carlo Salvato, University of Bocconi


A core assumption of the resource based view of the firm (RBV) is that internal resources and capabilities are a source of heterogeneity for firms and they can be instrumental in securing a source of competitive advantage. In the family business context scholars have applied the resource based view of the firm and established the ‘familiness’ construct. Familiness contends that the idiosyncratic family influence on firm level resources explains the competitive advantages or disadvantages of family firms.  Despite its conceptual power, there has been great difficulty in operationalising familiness into a functional research construct. The objective of my research is to extrapolate findings concerning entrepreneurial performance outcomes as descriptors of the “transgenerational potential” of business families in their competitiveness and cultural contexts. In particular this study identifies the antecedents to the familiness resource bundle. While appropriate familiness resources are necessary to the organization they will be insufficient to achieve a competitive advantage. Resources must be managed effectively. Using a sample of 300 Irish family businesses this study develops a resource management model aiding competitive advantage in family firms. The dimensions of the resource management process include structuring of the firm’s portfolio of resources, bundling resources to form capabilities, leveraging the set of capabilities and synchronization of the structuring, bundling and leveraging processes. This longitudinal study tracks the financial performance of family businesses across a ten year timeframe. It is expected this study will contribute to current understanding of strategic practices in multi-generational family businesses and identify the resources, capabilities and resource management processes required to ensure a transgenerational outlook.

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