Extended Abstract Sustainable management refers to the ability of an enterprise to meet economic, environmental and social requirements over the long term (World Commission, 1987). Until now, the necessity for sustainability in strategic decisions has, for the most part, only been accepted in major enterprises (large, multinational, globalised companies). SMEs‟ CSR and sustainability strategies and practices have so far remained widely unknown (Rutherfoord, Blackburn and Spence, 2000; Revell and Blackburn, 2007). Empirical evidence shows that most of SMEs‟ external socially responsible activities are occasional and unrelated to their business strategy (EC, 2002; Lawrence, Collins and Pavlovich, 2006). Most SMEs are unable to communicate CSR-related activities to external stakeholders (Murillo and Lozano, 2006) and responsible behaviour is especially focused on internal stakeholders. However, the objective of sustainability requires the active participation of all businesses of every dimension (together with those of public and private organizations, institutions and associations from the economic, social, and political worlds). As it is clearly shown at the community level, this does not, therefore, exclude the proactive contribution of small businesses, who constitute a fundamental structural component in the majority of European countries and, more generally, of the socio-economic fabric of most of the nations in the world (European Commission, 2004; Rankin, 2006). In this context, diverse studies have begun to closely examine the specific aspects of small businesses, many of which are family-owned and, therefore, governed by a logic that is closely tied to the family‟s personal objectives, values, and behaviors (Harvey et al, 1991; Quinn, 1997; Vyakarnam et al., 1997; Spence, 2000; Spence and Lozano, 2000; Spence, Schmidpeter and Habisch, 2003; Enderle, 2004). At the same time, other contributions have shown that there are many excellent small businesses (Stafford et al., 1999; Olson et al., 2003; Jenkins, 2004, 2006; Mandl, 2006) who are acknowledged for their best practices, which are capable of spreading and reinforcing pathways to sustainable development. Nevertheless, both the link between the values of the family business and the values “derived” from the local context, as well as the relationship between these values and the orientation to the sustainable growth of the family business along with that of the environment in which it is rooted remain less effectively explored. Based on this premise, this study proposes a key reading of the phenomenon of the family business (and is particularly relevant in the productive and social structure of Italy, composed primarily of businesses that are small in scale and mainly family-owned), and of its relationship with sustainable management. Specifically, in these family businesses the values at the base of their mission, and the principles that nurture their business strategies and objectives, are strongly linked to those of the entrepreneur and of the subjects who come from the family unit (Ward, 1987; Aronoff and Ward, 1991; Wortman, 1994; Corbetta, 1995; 2 Dyer and Sànchez, 1998; Corbetta and Montemerlo, 1999; Bird et al., 2002; Chrisman et al., 2005; Sharma, 2004; Zahara and Sharma, 2004; Carney, 2005). Such values are themselves the result of an anthropological culture typical of the socio-economic environment in which the entrepreneur, the family, and the business are all rooted, in that they are expressions of a culture “of place” (Becattini, 1979; Brokaw, 1992; Putnam, 1993; Granovetter, 1985, 2000; Minguzzi and Passaro, 2000; Lipparini 2002; Matacena and Del Baldo, 2009). The work is therefore intended to closely examine “sustainable family values,” which is at the core of “territory” family businesses‟ orientation. “Territory family businesses” in this context refer to businesses whose sustainable development is connected to the local context in which they are inserted. Such businesses, in fact, are important protagonists in the construction of sustainable oriented networks that are constituted by a plurality of actors (other public and private, for- and non-profit businesses, institutions, and organizations) with whom they enter into relationships, utilizing the exemplary social cohesion that characterises the local contexts (city, province and region) in which they operate. In this way they activate (or support) paths of sustainability inside the community and the territory from which they come - pathways that are not always exclusively local, but often extend themselves into the national and international contexts. The research question can therefore be summarized in these terms: “In the following sustainable and socially responsible management strategies, are family businesses “facilitated” by advantageous processes strongly linked with family and entrepreneurial values specific to the social system in which they are located?” In other words, “When transferred to the business, does the fabric of values that characterises the family, which derived from its socio-economic environment, facilitate its sustainable orientation?” This question serves as the thread around which the work wraps itself; the work aims to elicit other points of reflection to understand (or re-evaluate) the role of small businesses and family businesses in sustainability discourses. The foundational hypothesis is that the presence of a solid ethical framework that surround the principle family members within the business, and is shared by diverse actors in the same territory, guides the adoption of sustainable strategies and effective instruments of accountability. The paper is divided into two main sections, whose aims are to develop the theme deductively and inductively. The first section presents a theoretical framework that includes an analysis of the principle contributions and the turns of thought on the themes of the family business and small business‟ orientation towards sustainability and CSR. The second part develops an empirical analysis based on qualitative research that is centered on the case study method (Yin, 1994; Eisenhardt, 1989; Sharma et al., 1996).Two Italian family businesses are considered (the Varnelli Distillery and the Loccioni Group), who are part of a wider set of businesses that serve as a model of territorial social responsibility in the Marches region (a central Italian region on the Eastern coast of Italy, which is a typical example of the “made in Italy” brand), and which contains a number of individual champions capable of leading the way in sustainable development projects that create value for the community, both near and far.

Back to the values of the Family and of the Territory: a Pathway of Sustainable Family Entrepreneurship in Italy. The Experiences of the Loccioni Group and the Varnelli Distillery

DEL BALDO, MARA
2011-01-01

Abstract

Extended Abstract Sustainable management refers to the ability of an enterprise to meet economic, environmental and social requirements over the long term (World Commission, 1987). Until now, the necessity for sustainability in strategic decisions has, for the most part, only been accepted in major enterprises (large, multinational, globalised companies). SMEs‟ CSR and sustainability strategies and practices have so far remained widely unknown (Rutherfoord, Blackburn and Spence, 2000; Revell and Blackburn, 2007). Empirical evidence shows that most of SMEs‟ external socially responsible activities are occasional and unrelated to their business strategy (EC, 2002; Lawrence, Collins and Pavlovich, 2006). Most SMEs are unable to communicate CSR-related activities to external stakeholders (Murillo and Lozano, 2006) and responsible behaviour is especially focused on internal stakeholders. However, the objective of sustainability requires the active participation of all businesses of every dimension (together with those of public and private organizations, institutions and associations from the economic, social, and political worlds). As it is clearly shown at the community level, this does not, therefore, exclude the proactive contribution of small businesses, who constitute a fundamental structural component in the majority of European countries and, more generally, of the socio-economic fabric of most of the nations in the world (European Commission, 2004; Rankin, 2006). In this context, diverse studies have begun to closely examine the specific aspects of small businesses, many of which are family-owned and, therefore, governed by a logic that is closely tied to the family‟s personal objectives, values, and behaviors (Harvey et al, 1991; Quinn, 1997; Vyakarnam et al., 1997; Spence, 2000; Spence and Lozano, 2000; Spence, Schmidpeter and Habisch, 2003; Enderle, 2004). At the same time, other contributions have shown that there are many excellent small businesses (Stafford et al., 1999; Olson et al., 2003; Jenkins, 2004, 2006; Mandl, 2006) who are acknowledged for their best practices, which are capable of spreading and reinforcing pathways to sustainable development. Nevertheless, both the link between the values of the family business and the values “derived” from the local context, as well as the relationship between these values and the orientation to the sustainable growth of the family business along with that of the environment in which it is rooted remain less effectively explored. Based on this premise, this study proposes a key reading of the phenomenon of the family business (and is particularly relevant in the productive and social structure of Italy, composed primarily of businesses that are small in scale and mainly family-owned), and of its relationship with sustainable management. Specifically, in these family businesses the values at the base of their mission, and the principles that nurture their business strategies and objectives, are strongly linked to those of the entrepreneur and of the subjects who come from the family unit (Ward, 1987; Aronoff and Ward, 1991; Wortman, 1994; Corbetta, 1995; 2 Dyer and Sànchez, 1998; Corbetta and Montemerlo, 1999; Bird et al., 2002; Chrisman et al., 2005; Sharma, 2004; Zahara and Sharma, 2004; Carney, 2005). Such values are themselves the result of an anthropological culture typical of the socio-economic environment in which the entrepreneur, the family, and the business are all rooted, in that they are expressions of a culture “of place” (Becattini, 1979; Brokaw, 1992; Putnam, 1993; Granovetter, 1985, 2000; Minguzzi and Passaro, 2000; Lipparini 2002; Matacena and Del Baldo, 2009). The work is therefore intended to closely examine “sustainable family values,” which is at the core of “territory” family businesses‟ orientation. “Territory family businesses” in this context refer to businesses whose sustainable development is connected to the local context in which they are inserted. Such businesses, in fact, are important protagonists in the construction of sustainable oriented networks that are constituted by a plurality of actors (other public and private, for- and non-profit businesses, institutions, and organizations) with whom they enter into relationships, utilizing the exemplary social cohesion that characterises the local contexts (city, province and region) in which they operate. In this way they activate (or support) paths of sustainability inside the community and the territory from which they come - pathways that are not always exclusively local, but often extend themselves into the national and international contexts. The research question can therefore be summarized in these terms: “In the following sustainable and socially responsible management strategies, are family businesses “facilitated” by advantageous processes strongly linked with family and entrepreneurial values specific to the social system in which they are located?” In other words, “When transferred to the business, does the fabric of values that characterises the family, which derived from its socio-economic environment, facilitate its sustainable orientation?” This question serves as the thread around which the work wraps itself; the work aims to elicit other points of reflection to understand (or re-evaluate) the role of small businesses and family businesses in sustainability discourses. The foundational hypothesis is that the presence of a solid ethical framework that surround the principle family members within the business, and is shared by diverse actors in the same territory, guides the adoption of sustainable strategies and effective instruments of accountability. The paper is divided into two main sections, whose aims are to develop the theme deductively and inductively. The first section presents a theoretical framework that includes an analysis of the principle contributions and the turns of thought on the themes of the family business and small business‟ orientation towards sustainability and CSR. The second part develops an empirical analysis based on qualitative research that is centered on the case study method (Yin, 1994; Eisenhardt, 1989; Sharma et al., 1996).Two Italian family businesses are considered (the Varnelli Distillery and the Loccioni Group), who are part of a wider set of businesses that serve as a model of territorial social responsibility in the Marches region (a central Italian region on the Eastern coast of Italy, which is a typical example of the “made in Italy” brand), and which contains a number of individual champions capable of leading the way in sustainable development projects that create value for the community, both near and far.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2510542
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact