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Title: Configurations of innovation patterns in small family controlled firms in the UK
Author: Beaini, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 2218
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis contributes to theory building in relation to the innovation patterns in small family-controlled firms in the UK. Although there is extensive literature on innovation, relatively little empirical work has been carried out on small family firm innovation. This study therefore aims to gain an understanding of how small family firms innovate, to consider how innovation is sustained from one generation to the next, and to develop a conceptual framework of small family firm innovation. Following a review of the business and innovation literatures and the undertaking of exploratory research, a number of themes prevailed in relation to innovation in small family firms. This prompted a need to consider small family innovation from a holistic perspective and led to an adaptation of Miller and Le Breton-Miller’s (2005) 4Cs framework, which helped shape the primary fieldwork. A qualitative, multi-case, design was adopted, using eight small family firms purposively chosen, based on family control and generational involvement. Primary data was captured using semi-structured interviews, participant observation and secondary documents. Analysis was based on a matched pairs method, in which data from observations, interviews and documents were combined with a compare/contrast strategy to gather insights about innovation patterns in the four pairs of cases. The insights gained from this were then aggregated and related back to the literature. The findings and discussion led to the development of an enhanced 5Cs framework of small family firm innovation, which contributes a holistic view of innovation that has not been offered within the literature. Small family firm innovation needs to be thought of as a configuration of key priorities or elements that vary from firm to firm, which is based on: closeness to external stakeholders and non-family employees; the cultivation of family and non-family members; continuity; control; and competence. The study contributes to theory building by providing this flexible framework and by suggesting ways in which it might be tested by further qualitative and/or quantitative research.
Supervisor: O'Reilly, Daragh Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available