Knowledge integration in family SMEs: an extension of the 4I Model

Andrea Lionzo, Francesca Rossignoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the process of learning and strategic change in small and medium-sized family firms (family SMEs). Organizational learning theory posits that knowledge must be integrated throughout the firm to facilitate strategic renewal. This process occurs in a particular way in family SMEs, according to their specific characteristics. In such firms the family’s role, the company size and the lack of formal procedures and systems strongly affect the process of learning and change. The study applies the 4I model of organizational learning to three case studies and offers empirical support for this model. The article has theoretical implications for variants of the 4I model as applied to family SMEs, and implications for practice related to the family’s role in starting and perpetuating the process of learning and change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-608
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • SMEs
  • family business
  • knowledge integration
  • strategic renewal

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