Cooperation between family businesses of different size: A case study

Isabella Hatak, Katie Hyslop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

14 Citations (Scopus)


For family businesses, entering into inter-firm cooperation with another family business can be a fruitful strategy for sustaining business success and ensuring survival. However, the typical characteristics of family businesses (e.g. informal organisation structures, restrictive information policy) imply a lower propensity to combine resources on an inter-firm level—which becomes even more prevalent when the relationship is asymmetrical. Against the background that, however, not only research focusing on the cooperation tendencies of family businesses is underdeveloped, but also studies on asymmetrical inter-firm relationships are scant, we aim at examining business-related prerequisites for cooperation between family businesses of different size. By employing a qualitative research design, we gain insights into the importance of similarities in terms of a shared history and synergies in terms of mission and values (i.e., familiness) for balancing deficits in power, from the perspective of the smaller partner. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the development of trust between the cooperation partners, through the active demonstration of a track record as a reliable business partner, as well as making good on promises made, can also aid the long-term success of the cooperation in spite of differences in size and scale of the family businesses involved
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)52-59
JournalJournal of co-operative organization and management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • IR-99529

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