National Determinants of Family Firm Development? Family Firms in Britain, Spain, and Italy in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

We provide here a complement to recent work on family business, which has demonstrated the need to go beyond the generic definition of the family firm to place personal capitalism in an appropriate institutional, historical, and cultural framework. By focusing on the nineteenth‐ and twentieth‐century experiences in Britain, Spain, and Italy, we challenge the notion that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there was anything so simple as a Mediterranean model for family business. Rather, we demonstrate the need to consider family businesses in national and regional contexts if we are to understand their various capabilities and characteristics. We use similarities and differences in the experiences and responses of families and firms in the three countries to support this claim.