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Journal cover: Journal of Family Business Management

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Online from: 2011

Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation

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Business history in family business studies: from neglect to cooperation?

Document Information:
Title:Business history in family business studies: from neglect to cooperation?
Author(s):Andrea Colli, (Department of Public Policy and Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)
Citation:Andrea Colli, (2011) "Business history in family business studies: from neglect to cooperation?", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 1 Iss: 1, pp.14 - 25
Keywords:Business history, Family business, Organizational change
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/20436231111122254 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This paper seeks to provide a brief overview of what is business history as an academic discipline, with some reflection about its evolutionary patterns and heuristic value in other fields, as for instance, management studies. A peculiar and increasingly practised subfield of business history is that of family business studies, which is thus a promising crossroads and meeting point for both business historians, practitioners and scholars in management studies.

Design/methodology/approach – Through an extensive analysis of the literature on family business studies in business history, this article highlights some potential areas of collaboration and suggests some reflections about the way in which the research methods of historians can be beneficial for management scholars.

Findings – Business history has in fact a high potential in providing, through its longitudinal and comparative approach, evidence for building new theories and challenging the existing ones.

Originality/value – This article tries to move a step beyond from the consideration of history as a repository of interesting evidence, to a new role for the discipline as an heuristic tool, and new chances of cooperation between historians and management scholars.

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