Family ownership as a source of growth in Italian luxury fashion companies: the Max Mara case

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Pereira, Susana Carla Farias
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This study shows evidence that family ownership is a source of multidimensional growth in Italian luxury fashion companies by analysing the empirical case of Max Mara Fashion Group. A sample of 29 Italian luxury fashion companies was divided in three groups based on configuration of property. The Max Mara Fashion Group was chosen to represent those classified as “full family-owned”. Features originated from Max Mara’s ownership structure that allowed it to grow through integrated organic processes and reach increased dimensions in size were identified through document analysis and in light of the theoretical background in family ownership presented. First, the custody of Max Mara’s identity and consistency in corporate strategy was guaranteed by the entrustment of management to members of the founding family, which constitutes the first and most important opportunity for the sustainable growth of family businesses in the Italian luxury fashion industry. Second, inheritance handed down from parent to child was found to be the most important guarantee of creation of bonds between the younger generation of the Maramotti family and Max Mara. Because the transfer of tacit knowledge fundamental to grow the company is originated from intuitive observations and learning processes put in place by the future owners in their first years of life, the family business is the ideal place for it to take place from a symbolic success and cultural contribution point of view.

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