Abstract

When a Woman Loves a Firm: Cándida Morand, an Institutional Entrepreneur in 19th-century Spain

we combine the figure of the institutional entrepreneur with that of the female entrepreneur, using the example of Cándida Morand, Antonio Carbonell’s widow, who played a crucial role in the survival and later expansion and internationalisation of Casa Carbonell. After Antonio Carbonell’s death in 1878, Casa Carbonell transitioned from bankruptcy to becoming one of the major Spanish olive oil producers, as well as one of the most important exporting firms in the second decade of the 20th century. In this case, two research hypotheses are formulated. On the one hand, the fact that, according to the notarial documents studied, Cándida Morand notarised deeds with third parties, indicates a high degree of involvement and autonomy in business management. On the other, as argued by the literature, institutional entrepreneurs are not ‘heroes’ who can face anything, but rather act with the support of third parties who help them implement change (Hiebl, 2018). In Casa Carbonell this role was played by Carlos Carbonell and Manuel Courtoy, who were respectively Cándida Morand’s son and son-in-law, and who also notarised deeds in Cándida’s name or together with her. The transformation that Casa Carbonell underwent in those decades was the result of Cándida Morand’s management of the firm. First, she resolved the bankruptcy by investing her private capital and then she modified the firm’s strategy to transform a tax-collection company with commercial and banking connections into a successful diversified, vertically integrated (owning mills and presses), and exporting flour and olive oil company. The text explains this amount of work in the light of the institutional entrepreneurship theory, and concludes that institutional change may be imposed not only by the new generation but also by members of the first one, and highlights the role played by widows in the management of family businesses in 19th century Spain.