Relations of and between Family Business and Private Enterprise

July 21, 2023
Undergraduate Research

By Michael Cao

Department of Sociology, Duke University


In this paper, I draw from economic and organizational sociology to study a psychosocial dimension of modern entrepreneurial dynamics. Namely, I employ a mixed-methods approach to the study of family business members in the U.S and their corresponding economic attitudes about private enterprise as a superlative solution to economic problems. I incorporate quantitative cross tabulation analyses of multivariate relationships derived from data provided by the 2021 General Social Survey (GSS), as well as original qualitative interview data collected from family business members. Based on my findings, I argue role involvement in family business has a significant bearing towards generally positive views of private enterprise ideology. However, the relationship between family business involvement and belief in private enterprise is specified along lines of social class. I further argue how private enterprise belief is differentially associated with the lower and upper class of family business members, an important finding given the systematic impact family businesses can have on the economic fabric of American society.

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