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Commentary: Exploiting and Exploring New Opportunities Over Life Cycle Stages of Family Firms

Authors

  • Pramodita Sharma,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Vermont and Babson College
      Pramodita Sharma, tel. 514-848-2424 ext 2995; e-mail: psharma@jmsb.concordia.ca, and to Carlo Salvato at carlo.salvato@unibocconi.it.
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  • Carlo Salvato

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Management & Technology, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
      Pramodita Sharma, tel. 514-848-2424 ext 2995; e-mail: psharma@jmsb.concordia.ca, and to Carlo Salvato at carlo.salvato@unibocconi.it.
    Search for more papers by this author

Pramodita Sharma, tel. 514-848-2424 ext 2995; e-mail: psharma@jmsb.concordia.ca, and to Carlo Salvato at carlo.salvato@unibocconi.it.

Abstract

Family firms vary with regards to success achieved in terms of opportunity creation and exploitation over time. Elaborating on this variation, this commentary argues that firms that simultaneously engage in multiple levels of innovation—incremental, progressive, and radical—are likely to enjoy sustainable performance advantages across generations. Toward this end, a strategic split of innovation responsibilities between family and nonfamily professionals is likely to be useful, contingent on the firm's life cycle and size. In terms of entrepreneurial expertise, a combination of causal and effectual thinking is necessary to ensure exploitation of already discovered or created opportunities and exploration of new ones.

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