Reference : Traditions in Tension: An Ethnographic Inquiry of Luxembourg’s Family-Run Hotels
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Business & economic sciences : General management & organizational theory
Traditions in Tension: An Ethnographic Inquiry of Luxembourg’s Family-Run Hotels
Adiguna, Rocky mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Center for Research in Economic Analysis (CREA) >]
University of Luxembourg, ​Luxembourg-city, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Gestion
Fletcher, Denise mailto
Melin, Leif mailto
de Saint-Georges, Ingrid mailto
Hamilton, Eleanor mailto
Helin, Jenny mailto
[en] family business ; tradition ; process ; dualities ; ethnography
[en] The suggestion that tradition plays a role in family business is a long-acknowledged but often presumed notion in family business research. As a result, studies that attempt to conceptualise tradition as a focal point remain scarce. This dissertation addresses this vacuum by examining the properties and processes that are involved in the tradition-making and tradition-maintaining of hospitality-based family businesses. Based on an ethnographic inquiry of five hotel-running families in Luxembourg, this dissertation inquires into the meanings and tensions of tradition. Drawing from a process perspective, it explores how family owner-managers receive, enact, and perpetuate the continuity of the family businesses as traditions.

Theoretically, this study contributes to two streams of literature: to the family business literature by providing a conceptual foundation for understanding tradition as process, and to the process organisation studies literature by proposing family business as an exemplar of tradition where the past is immanent in the present. Methodologically, this study attends to discourses and narratives at the national level, the industry level, and the organisational level to contextualise the family-run hotels in a wider discursive space. These multi-level analyses constitute the basis for the application of a field ethnography which attempts to explore the relationality between different modes of discourse in a chosen field: texts, talks, actions, and images. As a result, the lived narratives of five hotel-running families are produced.

This dissertation advances tradition as a root metaphor for family business and proposes three different angles of seeing the family business as tradition: family business as received tradition, family business as enacted tradition, and family business as tradition to be transmitted. In alignment with the process perspective, four dualities in the enactment of the family businesses as traditions are discussed: repetition and novelty, preservation and abandonment, being and appearing, and certainty and possibility. Ultimately, this dissertation puts into question the predominant understanding of tradition as a fixed construct argues instead that tradition's apparent unity, fixity, and stability is a result of a reflexive process which is enacted by owner-managers on a daily basis.
Centre for Research in Economics and Management
Researchers ; Students

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