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Systems 2016, 4(1), 3; doi:10.3390/systems4010003

An Approach for Analyzing the Vulnerability of Small Family Businesses

1
Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Tatura 3616, Australia
2
UNE Business School, University of New England, Armidale 2351, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alberto Paucar-Caceres and Diane Hart
Received: 16 November 2015 / Revised: 16 December 2015 / Accepted: 31 December 2015 / Published: 8 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking and Management Sciences Methodologies)
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Abstract

In a given operating environment, small family businesses typically have fewer resources to minimize vulnerability. Identifying this exposure is basic to strategic analysis and, potentially, public policy analysis. This can become even more important when structural change in the environment is expected while its exact character is not known. The implications of climate change for Australian family farms are an example. This paper reports a study designed to analyse the vulnerability of dairy farms in Victoria, Australia. The study draws on production control (applied general systems) theory, value chains and image theory to capture comprehensively the lock-in arising from salient past decisions and impact on the current business structure and strategy. This is the path dependence that defines the constraints and associated options available to small family businesses. The authors identify benefits associated with the use of dynamic analysis of vulnerability over static analysis. Generalizable implications regarding analysis of vulnerability in small family businesses are offered. View Full-Text
Keywords: small family businesses; vulnerability; Australian agriculture; path dependence; production control theory; image theory; value chains small family businesses; vulnerability; Australian agriculture; path dependence; production control theory; image theory; value chains
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Cowan, L.; Wright, V. An Approach for Analyzing the Vulnerability of Small Family Businesses. Systems 2016, 4, 3.

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