Family Business: Defining

The term family business refers to a subset of business organizations within the economic landscape. Whereas many new ventures could be family businesses, firms are generally classified as family businesses by criteria or combinations of criteria, including family ownership, management by a family member, operational involvement of family members, and family member involvement across generations. This involvement presents opportunities to exercise influence over the business, its operation, and its culture. There is widespread consensus among scholars that the degrees of involvement and influence almost certainly ebb and flow along a continuum as a new venture develops, grows, and matures.

A new venture that is privately held, for example, would likely be influenced considerably by the family if it were controlled by one individual who participated proactively ...

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