Religiosity, Emotional States, and Strategy in the Family Firm: Edm. Schluter & Co Ltd., 1953-1980

Nicholas D. Wong, Andrew Smith, Andrew Popp

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By focusing on the case of the international commodity trading firm of Edm. Schluter & Co. Ltd. in the period 1953-1980, this article contributes to a growing appreciation of the importance of emotions in business history and family business studies. It examines how shared family religiosity generated positive emotions that created a competitive advantage for this firm during a period of increased external turmoil. Drawing on a range of qualitative sources, including market newsletters and transcripts of speeches given by managers belonging to the family, we identify four predominant emotions: nostalgia; anxiety; hope; and confidence. Faced with a rapidly changing environment characterized by decolonization in Africa and secularization in Britain, the firm drew on these emotions to build resilience. In general, the sector of global commodities trading is dominated by large corporations. In our view, therefore, the fact that this small family firm has survived with its values intact to this day is evidence that family, emotion, and religion provided important resources for the firm. The paper applies the history of emotions as an innovative framework to interpret the three-way intersection of family, emotions, and religious faith in a family firm setting.
TidsskriftEntreprises et Histoire
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)98-125
Antal sider28
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa