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Family Business

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Family Business

(Routledge Masters in Entrepreneurship)


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

A useful textbook detailing what family businesses have in common and what distinguishes them from other businesses.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


Professor Carole Howorth and entrepreneur Nick Robinson thoroughly explore family businesses in this textbook, offering lucid expositions of definitions, theories and dynamics and bolstering them with case studies. The book will serve anyone studying family business and entrepreneurship or participating in a family-owned enterprise. Howorth and Robinson teach what a family business means and, most tellingly, how familial relationships complicate corporate governance – and how to address that issue.


Family businesses come in all sizes and across all industries.

Family business probably began when people were hunter-gatherers, and families with crafting skills traded their goods with other families. Today, having family members in charge and relatives in the ranks, and therefore dealing with familial relationships will affect the conduct of business. Relationships with family members who are not formally part of the business may affect it as well.

The mom-and-pop shop on the corner may be a family business, but so is Walmart, which is among the world’s largest corporations. One of the United Kingdom’s biggest car dealerships, JCT600, is a fourth-generation family business. If you stroll through the Asda supermarket (owned by Walmart), you’ll encounter the products of numerous family businesses on the shelves.

Governance is often more complex for family businesses. A small group of family members may manage the business, while a much wider group of relatives may have ownership stakes. Family businesses often value, continuity and succession as much as profitability. Business longevity of more ...

About the Authors

Carole Howorth is professor of family business and entrepreneurship at the University of York, UK. Nick Robinson is a writer, editor and entrepreneur.

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