Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development


Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.


School of Business and Law




This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of:

Alonso, A. D., O'Brien, S., & Kok, S. (2018). Innovation, dynamic capabilities and family firms operating in an emerging economy. Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, 11(3), 221-242.

Available here.


Drawing on the dynamic capabilities framework (DCF), this exploratory study examines family firms' involvement in innovation practices, including reasons and ways to innovate. The cases of four family firms operating in an emerging economy (Uruguay) are investigated. Semi-structured, face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with owners and managers, and complemented with e-mail correspondence. Based on the imperative need to solve problems in their industry, firms' managements were intensively involved in various innovative processes. These processes included quality improvements, responding to a dynamic and competitive business and consumer environment, and extending the life and survival of the family enterprise for future generations. Notably, the importance of sensing and learning in the form of identifying and assimilating key information, and seizing and applying such information to develop or adopt innovation, including new technologies, emerged strongly. The findings also highlight the usefulness of the DCF to understand firms' integration, and transformation of learning.



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