n Management Dynamics : Journal of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists - A comparative study of the entrepreneurial orientation of small family and small non-family businesses




Despite several studies that have empirically examined either entrepreneurial orientation (EO) or its related dimensions, there is still some uncertainty about whether family businesses are more entrepreneurially orientated than non-family businesses. This uncertainty is of interest to family business researchers. The objective of this study is twofold: firstly, to compare the levels of EO of small family to small non-family South African businesses in terms of the five dimensions of EO; and secondly, to investigate the relationships between the five dimensions of EO and perceived business performance among these small businesses.

The data collected from 172 family and 145 non-family small business owner-managers were subjected to statistical analyses. Exploratory factor analyses were undertaken and Cronbach's alpha coefficients were calculated to assess the validity and the reliability of the measuring instrument. T-tests were conducted to identify significant differences, and Cohen's d statistics were calculated to assess practical significance. Multiple regression analyses were undertaken to investigate the influence of the five dimensions of EO on perceived business performance.
Small family businesses reported lower levels of autonomy than small non-family businesses. This finding was found to be of statistical significance, but of small practical significance. No differences were returned for the other dimensions of EO. The findings also show that the different dimensions of EO relate differently to perceived business performance, and vary across the small family and small non-family business contexts. Given the importance of entrepreneurial behaviour, this study provides insights into the EO of small family and small non-family businesses in South Africa.


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