Socioemotional approach: Exploring women’s guilt in an all-female Egyptian family business

Rebecca Fakoussa, Lorna Collins

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The role of women in family businesses is still an under-researched area, with existing research focusing on issues such as women’s roles, work-life balance and equality in terms of pay or careers. This paper seeks to understand the close interpersonal relationships of a small family business. It uses a case study approach to examine the dynamics and emotions at play within the firm and then develops a thought-provoking model of guilt to explain these dynamics. The case study examines an all-female family business in Egypt (Sharm-el-Sheikh). It is a small women’s wear business started and managed by the mother with both daughters employed. Using narrative inquiry, the research explores this family at a crucial turning point, following the business through near bankruptcy to ‘seeing light at the end of the tunnel’ before finally closing. The business achieved its recovery by professionalizing and changing ownership structures, aided by open communication and the recognition of roles and responsibilities. The research, conducted over a 2-year period starting in 2010 and ending in 2012, provides initial insights into the process through which family businesses are bound by guilt and love—emotions which exist simultaneously and which are reflected in the indviduals, the businesses and the family members’ lives. Suggestions for future research are also given. These include replication of the study in developed countries and other cultural contexts as well as development of a deeper understanding of the emotions of love and guilt in the context of working within and entering into family firms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFamily Businesses in the Arab World
EditorsSami Basly
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783319576305
ISBN (Print)9783319576299
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2017

Publication series

NameContributions to Management Science


  • Case study
  • Egypt
  • Family business
  • Guilt
  • Socioemotional
  • Women


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