The Burden of History in the Family Business Organization

Daniel Hjorth, Alexandra Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this article we focus on the study of history through the use of narratives, within the context of the prevalent form of organization worldwide: the family business. Specifically we consider the dilemma of the impossible gift of succession using Nietzsche’s discussion of the burden of history and paralleling the story of a family business succession with that of Shakespeare’s King Lear. This way, we seek to make a contribution to organizational studies by answering recent calls to engage more with history in studies of business organizations. By implication, the study also initiates an integration of family business studies into organization studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1089-1111
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Family business
  • History
  • Narratives
  • Nietzsche
  • Succession

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