Exploring the role of collaborative familiness and constructive conflict management in the innovation of family firms

Alvarado ÁlvarezCristina, Armadans Imma, Maria Jose Parada Balderrama

Research output: Conference paperContribution


Current research about the family influence on innovation shows contradictory findings (De Massis, Frattini & Lichtenthaler, 2013; Röd, 2016). While some studies show a negative impact given the controversies and conflict about risk-taking (Roessl, Fink & Kraus, 2010), others suggest that family presence may enhance innovation because the family is a source of social capital (Sánchez-Famoso, Maseda & Iturralde, 2014), and they show a collective orientation (Kammerlander, Dessi, Bird, Floris & Murru, 2015). Hence, family involvement (familiness) can be seen as a double edge sword (Röd, 2016). In the present study, innovation is understood as the "production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production; and establishment of new management systems. It is both a process and an outcome (Crossan & Apaidin, 2010; p.1155)". What we are suggesting is that when families develop a "collaborative" familiness, conflict, that in theory may negatively influence innovation, can be constructively managed, and hence promote innovation in family firms (Daspit, Long & Pearson, 2018, in press). "Collaborative" familiness can be defined as the set of social resources created in the intersection between family and business which promote a high level of cooperativeness between family members in the family firm. We draw on two theoretical frameworks to link constructive conflict management and familiness. On the one hand, we rely on the theory of conflict, understood as a psychosocial process (Deutsch, 2011) assuming that when protagonists understand their relationships as a mutual benefit, they perceive conflict as a mutual problem that needs to be cooperatively solve (Deutsch, 2011). This cooperative approach promotes a constructive dialogue around differences, controversies and existent knowledge, which prevents stagnation and promotes curiosity and creative solutions (Deutsch, 2011; Tjosvold, Wong & Feng Chen, 2014). This approach posits conflict as "a constructive force" inside the family firm (Mikkelsen & Clegg, 2018, p.3) which positively contributes to its development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2019
Event15th EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research 2019 -
Duration: 23 May 201925 May 2019


Conference15th EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research 2019


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