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Dynamic Capabilities in a Sixth Generation Family Firm: Entrepreneurship and the Bibby Line

Jones, O and Ghobadian, A and O'Regan, N and Antcliff, VA (2013) Dynamic Capabilities in a Sixth Generation Family Firm: Entrepreneurship and the Bibby Line. Business History, 55 (6). pp. 910-941. ISSN 1743-7938

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Abstract

In this paper we draw on the theory of dynamic capabilities to examine development of the only surviving family-owned Liverpool shipping company. The Bibby Line was founded in 1807 to take advantage of the growing sea-trade based in Liverpool. The company remained in shipping until the mid-1960s, when a series of external crises led the owner, Derek Bibby, to begin a process of diversification. In the last 50 years, the Bibby Line has grown into a £1bn business with interests in retail, distribution and financial services as well as a continuing commitment to shipping. Our intention is to demonstrate how multigenerational ownership contributes to the creation of dynamic capabilities in family firms. The distinctive nature of Bibby as a long-standing family business is related to unique assets such as patient capital, flexible governance structures as well as the ability to mobilise social and human capital.

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