Incremental entrepreneurship : best practice professionalization across generations

Morris, Mervyn J. (2011) Incremental entrepreneurship : best practice professionalization across generations. In Au, Kevin, Craig, Justin, & Ramachandran, Kavil (Eds.) Family Enterprise in Asia Pacific : Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Firms. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 137-149.

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This chapter will introduce Australia’s Dennis family – a case of ‘incremental entrepreneurship’ in the business transition from the first to the second generation. Following the second generation’s formal involvement and ownership in the business, Dennis Family Corporation (DFC) undertook a major professionalization process to formalize the family business and ensure its continued success. The members of the second generation have successfully sustained the entrepreneurial spirit of their family business (albeit in a different style), adding value to the firm in an ‘incremental’ manner.

Throughout the chapter there will be a strong emphasis on the family element of DFC and the roles that each family member has played. Bert Dennis, as the founder and incumbent leader of the firm, has witnessed major changes to the business he built from the ground up. His children, in particular his son Grant Dennis as the primary next generation issue champion, have seen the changes from another perspective – ensuring the business remains within the family into the second generation and beyond. The professionalization process was sparked by a commitment from the second generation to continue to ‘make a real go’ of the family business rather than simply liquidating and distributing the assets. The dedication of all the family members to this objective has ensured the success of this process, and ultimately, the longevity of the firm. Although DFC has become more ‘professional’, it has not lost its entrepreneurial character; rather, it has improved the ways in which entrepreneurialism is fostered and pursued in the company.

In essence, this case outlines how the implementation of appropriate governance and management practices has allowed the Dennis family to overcome the challenges and maximize the opportunities associated with owning and operating a multigenerational family fi rm. From a theoretical perspective, this case uses the concepts of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) (Lumpkin and Dess 1996) and the resource- based view (RBV) (Habbershon and Williams 1999; Barney 1991; Wernerfelt 1984) to demonstrate how the fi rm has leveraged its familiness to foster an enduring spirit of entrepreneurship and to maintain a sustained competitive advantage.

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ID Code: 46852
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Best Practice , Generations, Family Enterprise
ISBN: 9781848447929
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Entrepreneurship (150304)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 06 Nov 2011 23:07
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2015 16:22

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