Founders and the Entrepreneurial Experience

THE FIRST-GENERATION Controlling Owner company is one of the most exciting types of family businesses. New ventures not only are critical to capitalist economies, but they also have an important symbolic identity as the society’s stairway of opportunity for individuals and families. The entrepreneur is a complex figure in our cultural mythology: part adventurer and part misfit, part benefactor and part exploiter, part genius and part fool.

Founders of family companies can have a profound influence on the organizational cultures of their creations as well. The founder’s beliefs, business acumen, decision-making rules of thumb, and values are part of the basic structure of the enterprise, and they ...

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