Management Letters/Cuadernos de Gestión (May 2021)

Explanatory and predictive drivers of entrepreneurial orientation and innovation capacity: Evidence from family enterprises

  • Alfredo Martínez Bobillo,
  • Juan Antonio Rodríguez Sanz,
  • Fernando Tejerina Gaite

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 2
pp. 63 – 76


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This paper aims to identify potential explanatory variables of the entrepreneurial orientation and innovation capacity (EO-IC) of family enterprises (FEs) through a comparative study of family businesses in Spain and Latin America. The innovation literature reports a paradigm shift whereby the dynamic boost provided by corporate governance and productivity is playing an increasing role as a driver of EO-IC and sustainable competitive advantage. This issue acquires particular relevance in the ase of family firms, where entrepreneurial and innovation capacities are characteristically hampered by socio-emotional and risk-aversion factors. We construct a panel of data on 182 large family enterprises (1,820 observations) domiciled in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Spain, drawing on the Thomson Onebanker and ORBIS databases for the period 2008-2018. The results reveal the emergence of new explanatory variables for the structure of the family-firm EO-IC framework, some related to productivity; others more basically to corporate governance. They also show that, in Latin America, the use of business efficiency (productivity) factors in the planning and potentiation of EO-IC by family firms is hampered by the institutional (legal, regulatory, labour and educational) environment, where traditional factors such as firm size and ownership concentration are more relevant. In the Spanish case, however, the evidence points to a transition from traditional inputs towards business efficiency and productivity-related factors.