Family entrepreneurship in a retail chain -The grocer's household-enterprise complex

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Title: Family entrepreneurship in a retail chain -The grocer's household-enterprise complex
Author: Römer-Paakkanen, T.
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto, taloustieteen laitos
Date: 2002
Number of pages: 1118245 bytes
Belongs to series: Julkaisuja - 33
ISBN: 952-10-0264-6
ISSN: 1235-2241
Abstract: In this thesis the focus is on how do the K-retailers and their wives cope in connecting family life, family entrepreneurship and cooperation with the chain organization. The entrepreneur’s household and the firm form a socio-economic unit called householdenterprise- complex which interacts with its environment. The interaction within the household-enterprise complex and the interaction between the complex and the chain organization form the general framework for this empirical investigation. The research problem is examined by seeking answers for the next more detailed research questions: 1. How does the K-retailer's household-enterprise-complex cope between multiple needs and challenges? 2. How do the household and the family firm interact economically? 3. How do the gender roles influence in the household-enterprise-complex of K-retailers? 4. How does the household-enterprise-complex interact with the chain? 5. How do the entrepreneurial couples experience their way of life? Familyentrepreneurship as a life style is examined as the entrepreneurial couple experience it themselves. The study is based to the empirical data that is collected in qualitative semi-structured-interviews of 10 retailers and 8 wives in the capital area of Finland. The interviews were conducted in spring 1999. There were two cases from each of the retail chains of Kesko (Rimi discount stores, K-neighborhood stores, Ksupermarkets, K-superstores and Citymarket hypermarkets). Most of all the interaction between household and enterprise is affected by characteristics of the family and the firm, by the life cycle of the family and the firm, by the size of the family and the firm, by the division of labor and gender roles within the family. The complex operates on the basis of its values, sets of goals and available resources. The family’s "soft" values and culture has to be connected to the "hard" values and culture of the firm and chain. The economic stage of a family firm changes over time and the economic interaction between household and enterprise follows the life cycle stages. When starting a family business the retailer and his/her family usually invest all the private property to the firm and from that day the household and the firm are economically overlapping as long as the enterprise exists. There may be some periods of time when the household and the firm can be quite self-supporting but when the store needs some renewals the retailer has to invest again to his/her business. The family gives its labor and also the private property to the use of the family firm. The chain brings the logistic efficiency and information to the use of the retailer. And the retailer as a promoter connects all the resources and tries to create the family business so that it can fulfill all the tasks that the different interest groups ask for. One of the most important results of this study is that the family entrepreneurship can provide one solution to the problem of connecting work and family as the division of labor is quite flexible in business families. The case families can be divided into three main categories (copreneurs, equal partners, patriarchal families) according to their division of labor but as the families move on in their life cycle stage they can also move to another category of division of labor. The respondents in this study see the cooperation with the chain more as cooperation between the retailers. All the respondents feel that it is good and safe to be K-retailer. The economies of scale and the joint purchasing are the most important motives to belong to the chain.
Subject: family entrepreneurship
household-enterprise complex
retail chain
food markets
consumer economics
case study

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