Family Businesses Long-term Orientation – the Effect on their Digital Transformation : A multiple-case study within traditional industries

University essay from Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan; Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan

Abstract: Digital technologies are disrupting firms of all sizes in all industries. This prompts firms to stipulate responses to the ongoing changes and challenges digitalization spawns. Especially family businesses, with their unique structural and behavioral characteristics and economic importance, in traditional industries must reinvent themselves and transform their business digitally to ensure longevity. Despite the recent increasing contributions of academia for the digital transformation phenomenon, attention for specific organizational forms, in particular family businesses is still scarce. A better understanding of how these organizations undergo a digital transformation is vital for family business adaptation and future survival. Therefore, this study emphasizes on the specific attribute of long-term orientation. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate family businesses’ long-term orientations impact their digital transformation process. For the intention to contribute to academia through theory building, we have chosen a qualitative, exploratory research design using a multiple case study of six selected family businesses. 14 semi-structured interviews with seven family managers and seven non-family managers were conducted to collect data. The results show that family businesses prepare a basis for their digital transformation through the influence of their long-term orientation. Building on our findings we developed a model of a digital foundation for family businesses endeavors in their digital transformation process to manage the three phases of digital transformation. This digital foundation as a capability affected by a family business long-term orientation impacts their digital transformation process in distinct ways.

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