The Family-Firm Life Cycle and its Impact on Sustainable Development in Glasshouse Horticulture

Nicole Taragola, Dirk Van Lierde, Guido Van Huylenbroeck

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    Abstract

    In Flanders glasshouse vegetables and ornamental plants are typically produced by family businesses. In this type of businesses the objectives and long-term company developments are influenced by the `family-firm life cycle'. The objective of the paper is to investigate the impact of the `family-firm life cycle' on personal and business characteristics, objectives and the quality of the management processes involved in sustainable development. As sustainable horticulture integrates the three P's (People, Planet, Profit) special attention is paid to the social, environmental and economic aspects. Data for the research are based on interviews and accounting data at 138 glasshouse holdings. The glasshouse holdings in the different phases of the `family-firm life cycle' show significant differences in age and education level of the firm manager, firm size, modernity of durable goods, solvency and investment pattern. The hypothesis that the life cycle of the company manager parallels the life cycle of the family firm can be confirmed. The objectives and the quality of the management processes are dependent on the phase in the `family-firm life cycle'. In the early stages company managers are more ambitious and attach a higher importance to the management processes involved in sustainable development. In the later stages the availability of a successor has an important influence. The insights derived from this research have important implications both for research and practice. They can enable glasshouse growers and advisers to take and/or support correct decisions and may help policy makers to differentiate on the base of the `family-firm life cycle'.
    Translated title of the contributionThe Family-Firm Life Cycle and its Impact on Sustainable Development in Glasshouse Horticulture
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalActa Horticulturae
    Volume817
    Pages (from-to)217-224
    ISSN0567-7572
    Publication statusPublished - 28-Feb-2009
    Event1st International Symposium on Horticulture in Europe - Vienna, Austria
    Duration: 17-Feb-200820-Feb-2008

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