Family firms aren’t typically thought of as particularly innovative. More often, they’re viewed as risk averse, traditional, and stagnant.
However, many family-owned businesses are among the most innovative in their industries. Consider Herr’s Potato Chips and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. There are countless other examples of family firms that have brought innovations to market. We wanted to determine how family firms actually compare to their nonfamily counterparts when it comes to being innovative. Our research, conducted with Patricio Duran and Thomas Zellweger, suggests the answer is not simple.