A family business? : the making of an international business élite


A family business? : the making of an international business élite

Jane Marceau

Cambridge University Press , Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 2009

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



First published in 1989, A Family Business? goes beyond purely national studies of class systems and discussions of the processes of social change in any one country and traces the development of an international elite in Europe. Professor Marceau analyses the micro-strategies developed by both individuals and families to achieve or maintain high positions in the emerging business world. Using a study of young managers from twelve countries, she indicates the extent to which they rely on social, economic and cultural resources provided by families of origin and marriage for success in the high-risk competition for top posts, and she shows how common education, adherence to technocratic managerial and political beliefs, and shared experience of transnational careers are creating a network of 'parallel families' across Europe. She suggests how the emerging European business class is distinctively shaped by its international experience.


  • List of tables
  • Preface
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The creation of a new business Europe: the rise of the multinational firm and its managers
  • 3. The routes to internationalism: family backgrounds, and education experience
  • 4. Choosing a career: family edicts and school verdicts
  • 5. Careers across Europe
  • 6. Escalator or roller-coaster? Moving on and flying high in the businesses of Europe
  • 7. Invisible resources: families of origin and marriage
  • 8. A family of beliefs and character
  • 9. Reaching the top: origins, competence and connections
  • 10. A family affair
  • Appendix A. Methods of study
  • Appendix B. Coding of social origins
  • Appendix C. Basis of regrouping of sector categories
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index.

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