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Authors – E24 – Christina Öberg – The matter of locality: family firms in sparsely populated regions

This paper explores the interaction and interdependence between family firms and sparsely populated regions. Interactivity underlines the dynamics of the setting and how it changes based on activities between the firm and the context, whereas interdependence refers to how the family firm and the region become mutually reliant on one another. Five case studies show that while the firms act under similar conditions in terms of disparity, their interplay with and dependence on the region differ. The study points to how the citizenship of the family firms is fundamental and how employment is at the heart of the interdependence, while those firms interacting most strongly with the region are those expanding beyond what would be expected by a family firm in terms of traditions and risk aversion. This again indicates a complex pattern of interactivities and interdependencies between family firms and sparsely populated regions. The paper provides important dimensions to theories on family firms’ local contexts specifically related to under-researched settings of sparsely populated regions and important implications for managers, public actors and policy makers, not the least related to support to such contexts.

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