Capturing the antecedents and aftermath of a family business process : The entrepreneurial journey of a displaced agricultural family in Colombia

Abstract: This study examines a displaced agricultural family during its entrepreneurial journey in Colombia using a single case study, following an inductive and interpretivist approach. The main objective of the dissertation is to explain how family interactions, historical events, and context influence the decision to start and potentially reactivate an agricultural family business. It adopts the family as a unit of analysis for examining the intergenerational dynamics between spouses and siblings, parents, and offspring, and explores the family’s influence on decisions about creating a farming business, being forced to leave the land, and using the restituted land to potentially reactive the family business. The case study was conducted between 2016 and 2019 and includes a snapshot visit to the field, face-to-face interviews with members of three generations of the Cabrera family and other stakeholders, as well as abundant secondary materials. The snapshot visit to Colombia was important for obtaining sensitivity and an understanding of the displaced agricultural family on its land and the violence and crime that its members were e-posed to. The study adopts a narrative approach for presenting the accounts of the second and third-generation members. It adopts a window of time of the family-life context from 1958 to 2019. Family members’ life stories highlight critical events during the entrepreneurial Journey of the displaced agricultural family.Following the family through its life context, this study interprets the agricultural family members’ accounts of the formation of the family and its business, its land, displacement from the land, restitution of the land, and the potential reactivation of the business against the backdrop of violence, crime, and land evictions in the country. The Cabrera family’s entrepreneurial journey is interpreted along four phases making sense of the family history.The study extends habitualization as a perspective for addressing the underlying processes that influenced the family’s entrepreneurial Journey before the family created its family business and after the business exit. The habitualization perspective is interpreted considering how the family built its family capital and familiness. Familiness’ products, the family habitus, and the family business habitus are housed in the family’s experiences and knowledge. During its entrepreneurial Journey as a displaced agricultural family, the family also adopted different organizational forms, for instance, becoming a family or starting a family business, and as a result, gained the attributes of the transition affecting the construction of what constitutes its family habitus and the family business habitus. This dissertation proposes that the habitualization perspective can help us better understand the entrepreneurial Journeys of displaced agricultural families. Habitualization provides a bridge connecting a family’s past with its present and future. Recognizing the contextual circumstances, habitualization allows us to communicate a family’s past and its relation to the land, the former family business, and its familiness with the possibility of reactivating the farming business on its land or the family’s involvement in new businesses. Then, the familiness will not be lost in the past. In this way, the e-perience and knowledge of family members involved in the family business work for the benefit of the entrepreneurial activity and give the former family business a new and broader dimension of development.This dissertation also sheds light on the entrepreneurial journey of creating and recreating family dynamics around the possibility of starting and potentially reactivating a family business considering the family’s land and observing the effects of its contextual circumstances. Taking into account that the family clings to the family business for developing the family business habitus, the influence of the family business gains a greater scope, suggesting that the family business exerts a positive influence on the family and its interactions in favor of entrepreneurship and the family business. Finally, this study draws attention to the importance of displaced agricultural families in developing countries as a relevant phenomenon for studies on family businesses in circumstances surrounded by violence and crime. Considering that agriculture is a representative activity with family involvement in business and close interactions within the family, it is important to investigate this aspect more.