Article on storytelling and innovation in family firms selected as AoM Best Paper

Today I got an email with delighting news: Our paper on family firm innovation and the effect of storytelling was selected as “Best Paper” (= top 10%) at the Academy of Management!

The paper is based on interviews with 41 wineries from Italy. We show that for all of them the stories about the family firm that are shared within the family, transferred from one generation to another, are very important for the family members. But they also matter for the firm: The content of the stories affects which decisions are considered as appropriate, who will be given decision-making power, and how conflicts will be solved. For instance, in firms with stories focusing on the founder, only a narrow set of strategic decisions was “allowed” and the older generations had all decision making power. The result was inertia, stillstand. In firms with stories focusing on the family, positive emotions, and values, however, such restrictions did not exist and younger family members were invited to join decision making. The result was much more frequent and more intensive innovations.

I thank my co-authors Cinzia Dessi and Michela Floris (University of Cagliari, Italy) and Miriam Bird (University of St.Gallen) for being part of this great research team!

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