The Role of Design on the Development of Family Firms' Dynamic Innovation Capabilities


This research examines the innovation capabilities of design-intensive family firms (FFs), operating in office-furniture manufacturing industry in Turkey. In this multidisciplinary study, two main themes are used from family business (FB) and innovation literature. Familiness theory and its three dimensions - involvement, essences, and organizational identity - are used as a way to understand the resources of family involvement in these firms. Dynamic innovation capability (DIC) framework and its three forms are used to examine these firms’ processes of using resources to sense and seize opportunities, and to reconfigure assets and structures in a changing business environment, an emerging market context. The findings from the case study reveal three roles of design that contribute to the development of DICs of FFs. These are (1) idea generation through external resources, (2) value addition through high-quality products, and (3) vision accumulation through the founder. These findings highlight the interaction between design and innovation practices of FFs and provide insights on how a family-owned and -managed manufacturing company operating in a design-intensive industry would achieve innovation in an emerging market: (1) The collaborative approach to idea generation through external sources is used for sensing innovation opportunities, (2) the value addition is achieved with high-quality products often through investment in production technologies and process innovations, and rarely through investment in R&D and design and product innovations, for seizing innovation opportunities; and (3) the vision for innovation is adopted through the founder, mainly related to the educational status and personality traits, for reconfiguring assets and structures.


Selin Gulden
PhD, Lecturer, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey

Ozlem Er
Istanbul Bilgi University


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design Management and Professional Practice


Design Management, Innovation Capability, Family Firm, Emerging Market, Office Furniture

Digital Media


The Role of Design on the Development of Family Firms' Dynamic Innovation Capabilities (pdf)