Family Entrepreneurial Orientation as a Driver of Longevity in Family Firms: A Historic Analysis of the Ennobled Trenor Family and Trenor y Cía

Abstract: This study uses family entrepreneurial orientation to explain longevity and trans-generational value creation in Trenor y Cía., a Spanish family firm that remained in business for over three generations from 1838 to 1926. While the entrepreneurial view of the family was evident under the patriarch’s leadership, this was more remarkable when the second-generation introduced innovative industrial processes; furthermore, the family was actively engaged in other firms, before, during and after Trenor y Cía. When the Trenors managed to integrate into the Spanish nobility through marriage, the ennobled-entrepreneurs did not change their attitudes towards business and contributed to economic progress. The Trenor family also pursued non-financial goals to maintain socioemotional wealth, and played a key role in both society and politics. This analysis contradicts the view that family firms are often a burden for progress and confirms that they have bivalent attributes that can be managed to achieve net benefits.