Family Business in tourism and hospitality

Call for papers for: Journal of Family Business Management

Deadline for abstracts: 30 May 2021

Submission Portal Opens: 1 July 2021

Full paper submission deadline: 31 October 2021


Special Issue Scope

The Special Issue aims to provide a comprehensive collection of papers including new insights for traditional paradigms, approaches and methods, as well as more recent developments in research methodology in family business in tourism and hospitality. The aim of the special issue is to verify whether, in the tourism sector, the “family business model” is an important development opportunity and, in particular, if it is an innovation driver, for this industry development. In this context, the authors will investigate personal and family needs and preferences alongside the relationship between family business model, growth and profit maximization and the development of tourism businesses through innovation drivers.

In the tourism industry, most enterprises are characterized by small size and family ownership (Getz and Carlsen, 2000; 2005). Between the family and the firm, an exclusive entrepreneurial culture develops (Astrachan, 2003; Peters and Kallmuenzer, 2018), potentially making transgenerational entrepreneurship the main economic engine in the tourism sector (Puzi and Ismail, 2017). Influenced by the family conflicts, local culture and commercial interests, the management of this type of business involving family members has become increasingly more complex over the years (Ismail et al, 2019). This highlights that the development of a family business is influenced by three factors: the family, property and the business system adopted (Gersick et al., 1997; Peters and Buhalis, 2004). These characteristics of family business are connected to the family’s life stage and its culture. Human, social and financial capital represent the natural resources owned by the family business (Ireland et al., 2003). Human capital includes elements, such as reputation, skill and intuition, which reflect the influence of the founder of the family business. The exploitation of resources in the family business approach is different from that in the non-family business approach (Sirmon and Hitt, 2003).

These exclusive resources reflect the fact that the family acts as owners; therefore, the intangible familiarity factor is the element that differentiates the family business from other non-family businesses (Arteaga et al., 2018) and can represent a competitive advantage; however, at the same time, by having a suffocating effect (Craig and Lindsay, 2002), family-related skills and resources could inhibit growth (Camisón et al., 2016). Regarding market performance, family businesses have a number of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are represented by personal relationships with corporate stakeholders (Mustakallio et al., 2002) and strong social values (Peters and Kallmuenzer, 2018), highlighting the positive relationship between family involvement and performance (Allouche et al., 2008; Lindow et al., 2010; Block et al., 2011; Chu, 2009; Miralles-Marcelo, Miralles-Quirós and Lisboa, 2014; Wagner et al., 2015)​​. In contrast, the disadvantages are often related to the nature of relationships often characterized by the lack of professionalism of family members (Chaudhry and Crick, 2004; Crick et al., 2018) and to the absence of a business strategy or a vision (Legohérel et al., 2004; Pikkemaat and Zehrer, 2016). Therefore, business development and family history are two related concepts that influence each other. A family business is governed by the objective of pursuing the vision of a business, which is owned by a dominant group and is under the control of family members, such that the business is sustainable across generations of the family (Chua et al., 1999). In a family business, the important elements are the following: the same family members’ exercise of control of the family business; the pre-eminence of family benefits; and the production of sustainable income for future generations (Jaskiewicz et al., 2015). Furthermore, for the survival of the family business in tourism, innovation in response to a constantly changing environment is required, and shared products are offered by many actors (Sundbo et al., 2007; Kallmuenzer and Peters, 2018a). Letonja and Duh (2015) believe that “the survival of family businesses across generations depends upon different factors, including their ability to renew through innovation” (Letonja and Duh, 2016; Prevolsek et al., 2017). However, in the tourism sector, the owner often runs the business himself, or the business is run by a few close family members (Getz and Carlsen, 2000; Kallmuenzer and Peters, 2018a). Therefore, ownership and management are often coincident. Therefore, family involvement is very strong, and consequently, a strong innovative element is expected to emerge within family businesses. In addition, by implementing innovative strategies, tourism companies create a more sustainable environment, as they recognize innovation as an essential and promoting engine for sustainable development in tourism (Arcese et al., 2020; Elmo et al., 2020).

In tourism, compared to general management, innovation is a more complex dimension. In tourism, innovations consist of product, service, management, marketing, process or institutional innovations (Legohérel et al., 2004; Hall and Williams, 2008; Hjalager, 2010; (Kallmuenzer and Peters, 2018a). Innovation in tourism is more limited in family businesses than in non-family businesses. The factors that determine whether a family business will innovate are either economic factors, such as financial restrictions, or non-economic factors, such as risk aversion, the maintenance of traditional products, family conflict and closure to external information by investors (Hauck and Prügl, 2015a). In the same way, family businesses may give up on implementing sustainability practices, as their implementation often requires innovation and high risk (Memili et al., 2018; Elmo et al., 2020). Some studies in the literature, i.e., Craig and Moores (2006) or Bergfeld and Weber (2011), show that innovation is a factor in ensuring long-term survival (Craig and Moores, 2006; Hauck and Prügl, 2015).

The heterogeneity of family businesses can be explained by socio-emotional and non-economic factors (Chrisman et al., 2012; Hauck and Prügl, 2015a). Moreover, some studies show the decreasing propensity for innovation of family businesses (Litz and Kleysen, 2001; Craig and Moores, 2006; Beck et al., 2011; Hauck and Prügl, 2015a). In other studies, such as Westhead et al (2002) or Hauck and Pru (2015), once structures and processes are acquired and consolidated, family businesses reduce their ability to react to external changes (Westhead et al., 2002; Hauck and Prügl, 2015a). Generally, these companies are more hostile towards innovative processes precisely because they tend to want to maintain the status quo of the acquired elements (Vrontis et al., 2016). Other interesting aspects of family businesses concern their relation to the innovation and succession process. It is possible to argue that the involvement of the successor in a business can act as a “catalyst of change”, that is, as an opportunity to innovate (Kotlar and De Massis, 2013; Hauck and Prügl, 2015a).

All theoretical and methodological (both qualitative & quantitative) approaches are equally appreciated, and we particularly welcome multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions that covers different issues relevant to strategic management, operations or marketing, and provides evidence based on the theme of special issue

Important Dates:

Deadline for abstracts: 30 May 2021

Notification of decision on abstracts: 30 June 2021

Submission Portal Opens: 1 July 2021

Full paper submission deadline: 31 October 2021

Notification of decision on papers: January 2022                                      


Guest Editor:

Marco Valeri

Niccolò Cusano University, Italy

[email protected]

Marco VALERI is a professor of Tourism and head of Tourism Institute at the Faculty of Economics, Niccolò Cusano University in Rome. He is also member of AIEST (Association Internationale d'Experts Scientifiques du Tourisme) and member of supervisory board of Italian Association Tour Operators and Travel Agents.


Author Submission Guidelines
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers is available here

Online Submission through ScholarOne:
Submissions to the Journal of Family Business Management are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available here.

For any further inquiry about this special issue, please contact the guest editor: Marco Valeri ([email protected])