Kinship ties, intra-firm and inter-firm relations: empirical insights from small and medium-sized family businesses in Turkey's textile and clothing industry
South-East European Research Centre (SEERC) & Management School University of Sheffield Thessaloniki, Greece
Family businesses have been important actors on the business scene of all countries? economies worldwide but it is only during the last one and a half decade that they started attracting increasing scholarly attention. As a relatively young research area, it continues to suffer from serious shortcomings. This study has been designed as an enquiry into the family businesses that operate in the textile and clothing industry in Turkey, which aims to explore and conceptualise the similarities and differences that are observed in their structure, functioning, and the industrial relations therein through an empirically grounded and analytically interpretive methodological perspective. As such, it questions the widespread use in the family business literature of a single, one-size-fits-all definition of the family and puts emphasis on the need to take into account the particularities of family and kinship systems that are observed across different contexts. In so doing, the study aims to call into attention the necessity to duly study the family aspect of these businesses, through sociological perspectives, and with at least as much as the scholarly effort and attention that have been spent so far for studying their business component. Particular attention will be paid to fictive kinship forms (Ebaugh and Curry, 2000) ? ?quasi-kinship ties? as they are named by Holy (1996), or as ?parakinship? by Suzuki (1966) ? in the Turkish society that extend the circle of kinsmen to include those with whom one does not share genealogical ties. The central focus of the paper will be on the implications of fictive kinship ties and relations for employer-employee (intra-firm) relations and for inter-firm relations in the Turkish textile and clothing industry. Such an endeavour is expected to underline and spread the word for the need in future research to question the taken-for-granted structure of the family as a presumable one.