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Managing the tradition and innovation paradox in family firms: A family imprinting perspective

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/01/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
Issue number1
Number of pages35
Pages (from-to)20-54
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/04/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Long-established family firms are endowed with a bundle of beliefs and practices that constitute their tradition. However, to remain competitive, they need to renew their products and production processes. Such forces pulling toward the past and the future, antithetically calling for continuity and change, seem paradoxical. In an abductive analysis of eight long-established family firms in Turkey, we identify four equifinal strategies to manage this paradox. Adopting a family imprinting perspective, we theorize how the long-lasting legacy of previous family generations shapes different approaches to innovation and tradition depending on the content imprinted on the current family generation. Contributing to family business, imprinting and innovation research, we identify the new construct of temporal symbiosis as a firm’s simultaneous adoption of retrospective and prospective approaches to using its resources to concurrently perpetuate tradition and achieve innovation, highlighting its crucial role as a shield of the past and engine for the future.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 44 (1), 2019, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/etp on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/