Coopetition of small- And medium-sized family enterprises: Insights from an IT business network

Johanna Gast, Andreas Kallmünzer, Sascha Kraus, Katherine Gundolf, Judith Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Coopetition drives prosperity and economic development. Surprisingly, despite its relevance and the presence of family dynamics which affect business behaviour, researchers have not yet explored coopetition in small- and medium-sized family enterprises. This study seeks to advance coopetition research by analysing its application by family SMEs coopeting in a German business network in the information technology sector. We explore the nature of coopetition among family SMEs, and focus on motivational drivers to coopete and the implications of coopetition. Based on the present qualitative case study on 11 coopeting family SMEs, we discovered that coopetition among family SMEs tends to be cooperation-dominated. Moreover, the decision for and implications of coopetition seem to facilitate the family SMEs’ non-economic goal to safeguard their socio-emotional wealth. The creation of binding social ties and the fortification of the firm’s long-term orientation in the form of family bonds renewal are important consequences of coopetition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-101
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Business network
  • Coopetition
  • Family firms
  • Family SMEs
  • Germany
  • Innovation
  • IT sector
  • Socio-emotional wealth


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