University of Leicester
2019jacquemotnphd.pdf (1.9 MB)

Storytelling and Values in a Family Business – An Ethnonarrative Study of the Hotel Queen Sophia

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posted on 2019-11-19, 14:37 authored by Nicolas Jacquemot
Values are the bedrock of family business culture and have great power to shape behaviours, decisions and priorities in these companies. Notwithstanding this, previous research has been unable to fully explain, how values are perceived and passed on in family firms. Additionally, scholars have not yet thoroughly explored the role of storytelling, for values transmission in family companies. Research in this area is important to better understand how values affect ownership, management and work in family firms. This thesis, based on an ethnographic case study of a Swedish hotel, investigates how values are conveyed through storytelling in a family-run business. It also examines how storytelling uncovers different perceptions of values – and how the notion of “family” occurs within the stories. Fieldwork was carried out during a sixmonth period and included participant observation and thirty-three semistructured interviews. Narrative analysis was used to interpret the findings, which reveal that the family and their firm are closely intertwined; the company’s values are strongly linked to the family. It also shows how storytelling plays an important role in transmitting values in the family business. This research makes a substantial contribution to existing knowledge. Firstly, it shows how values are disclosed and passed on in a family business. This increases knowledge of the process through which values are conveyed through storytelling and offers a thorough understanding of the complexity of this process. Secondly, this research reveals how the values of the organisation are embraced and exhibited – i.e. personified – in different ways. It suggests that this personification of values is linked to autonomy, which adds important knowledge to family business, and hospitality, research. Thirdly, this study makes a vital methodological contribution. The ethnonarrative approach and its focus on storytelling allowed for a deeper understanding of how values are conveyed, perceived and personified in family business.



Carl Rhodes; Valerie Fournier

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Business

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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