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Knowledge Combination and the Potential Advantages of Family Firms in Searching for Opportunities

Authors


  • The authors contributed equally to this research.

Pankaj C. Patel, tel.: (765) 285-3194; e-mail: pcpatel@bsu.edu, and to James O. Fiet at jamesofiet@me.com.

Abstract

This study examines differences in knowledge structures and combinative capabilities that provide family firms with distinct advantages over nonfamily firms in identifying opportunities. Drawing on constrained, systematic search, we explore how noneconomic goals and family relations enhance searching for opportunities. Unique human capital conditions create specific knowledge and economies of scope in knowledge combination. Differences in knowledge stocks, knowledge combination, and the long-term orientation of family firm managers explain differences in finding opportunities between family and nonfamily firms. Furthermore, we propose that family firms are more likely to improve their search routines over time. Fewer endgame scenarios in family firms allow the refinement of search routines.

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