‘What's so special about family business?’ An exploratory study of UK and Irish consumer experiences of family businesses

Marylyn Carrigan, Joan Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While family-owned businesses are considered to have specific advantages in customer relationships, limited research has been conducted into how these abilities are developed or understood by the public. Consumers may indeed perceive family businesses differently from non-family businesses, but this aspect has received scant attention within the literature. This paper sets out exploratory work designed to gain an understanding of Irish and UK consumer perceptions of family-owned businesses, within both urban and rural communities. The study provides insight into the meaning of ‘familiness’ in consumers' minds when linked to family businesses, and explores the relationships and experiences that respondents have of family firms. Emerging issues include family business heritage, community bonds and social stewardship, consumer loyalty and generational transfer, distinction, choice and retail heterogeneity. The findings of this exploratory study suggest that researchers should be paying more attention to the positive aspects of family businesses within communities, and concludes with suggestions for future research to further extend this area of study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-666
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Community
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Family business
  • Loyalty
  • Retail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Marketing

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