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Thriving and surviving in the new world wine industry : examining the impact of social relations in family firms

Scammell, Joanna 2010. Thriving and surviving in the new world wine industry : examining the impact of social relations in family firms. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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The objective of the research is to create new understanding of how family businesses utilise their network relationships to survive and grow their business. The focus rests on how family business participants are interlocked within relationships both within the business itself and with external stakeholders. Analysis of the research reviews the concept of 'Systems of Exchange' (as proposed by Biggart and Delbridge 2004), which is revised for application to the family business. A critical review of the theoretical literature in the areas of networking and family business theory highlight the gaps in our knowledge of how networks are composed and how exchanges are conducted in family firms. A synopsis of the viticulture industry provides a contextual background in which the study took place. The methodology of the research is grounded in a critical realist approach in which a mixture of participant observation and in-depth interviewing were conducted. A total of three case studies were undertaken, compromising over six months in the field. The cases were based in similar sized viticulture businesses in three different countries the UK the USA and Australia. The findings indicate that, due to the strong organisational identification that derives from being a family firm in the agricultural industry, particularistic relationships dominate as the basis for orientation to a network. A high level of substantively rational exchanges was also observed with exchanges with the local community and internal actors in these organisations. It is concluded that the 'agricultural heart' forms a substantial moral basis for many exchanges formed with external network partners, suggesting that a larger proportion of moral exchanges are found within the agricultural industry. Further, the level of involvement of the family in the daily activities of the business was seen to highly affect the portfolio of exchanges that were observed. These findings are represented within the revised Systems of Exchange framework. The study makes a number of contributions to organisation and family business theory. Firstly, the study develops the Systems of Exchange framework, demonstrating that understanding of exchanges can be improved by elaborating the framework to reflect the dynamic nature of ties and potentially asymmetrical nature of relationships. Secondly, the framework needs to be located within the local context of exchange and it is therefore extended to reflect a number of mediators of exchange relations. Thirdly, the data leads to the development of a new model which links the concepts of social capital, dynamics of trust and situated logics. By presenting these revised and new frameworks, clear contributions to knowledge are identified.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
ISBN: 9781303191442
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2014 14:33

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