Why are some family firms not innovative?: Innovation Barriers and Path Dependence in Family Firms

Lorenzo D., Núñez-Cacho P., Akhter N., Chirico F.

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How does leadership impact on family firm orientation towards innovation? How does reputation affect innovation. How do emotional conflicts between relatives affect family firm innovation?

Although scholars have recognized the importance of innovation in family firms, the literature on family firm innovation tends to generally depict family firms as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for innovation, or focus on the factors with the potential to positively stimulate family firm innovation.

Drawing on path dependence theory, we focus specifically on what family-specific barriers work against innovation in family firms.

To that end, we follow a qualitative theory-building approach due to the limited amount of extant theory, and study a sample of four family businesses headquartered in Spain and Uruguay. The related propositions and theoretical contributions emerging from our study are shared in the concluding section.


  • Lorenzo, D., Núñez-Cacho, P., Akhter, N., Chirico, F. (2022). Why are some family firms not innovative? Innovation barriers and path dependence in family firms. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 38(1), 101182.
  • Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2021.101182