September Issue of Family Business Review!

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We are pleased to announce the September Issue of Family Business Review (FBR) is now available and free to read through the end of September!

Check out the editorial, in which Senior Associate Editor Donald O. Neubaum discusses the domain of family business research and offers suggestions to future scholars.

Given the fact that FBR is only in its 31st year of publication, the field of family business research is relatively young compared with other disciplines within business. However, interest in family business research is growing at a phenomenal rate as, on average, almost 900 research articles on family business have been published every year since 2010 (which greatly exceeds the 30 and 230 articles written on average, per year, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, respectively). The variety of special issues in journals from disciplines outside of family business is further evidence of the widespread interest of other business scholars in family business phenomena. In fact, our discipline has had a long history of reaching out to scholars in disparate fields, as witnessed by special issues early in FBR’s existence on philanthropy in family foundations (1990), women in family businesses (1990), and international business (1991).

 


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To learn more about the journal, visit FBR’s homepage!

FBR is accepting Special Issue Proposals to be published in 2020!


 

Family photo attributed to Free-Photos.

Do Family Firms Have a Trust Advantage?

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[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Susanne Beck of LBG Open Innovation in Science Center and Dr. Reinhard Prügl of the FIF@Zeppelin University, Lake Constance, Germany, who recently published an article in Family Business Review entitled, “Family Firm Reputation and Humanization: Consumers and the Trust Advantage of Family Firms Under Different Conditions of Brand Familiarity,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the significance of the article.

fbra_30_2.coverWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

Authors: Observing an increasing number of publications using fictitious brands, we were asked by family entrepreneurs if the discovered trust advantage of family firms holds true for brands consumers are already familiar with. As we did not have an answer for this question and did not find any literature talking to that question we started this research project.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

Authors: As already mentioned above, this research was primarily triggered by extensive discussions with different family entrepreneurs. Furthermore, as family firms are the dominant organizational form in almost all economies around the world, and as we do not fully understand yet how the perception of this governance structure affects major stakeholder groups, we decided to contribute to explore and better understand the underlying dynamics.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

Authors: It was a really challenge to find companies willing to let us use their real brands for our studies. Furthermore, it was not easy to integrate four studies into one single paper. Nevertheless, we received great guidance throughout the process from our Editor Allison Pearson which finally made it possible to solve the riddle successfully. The biggest surprise on our side was two-folded: a) that the trust advantage and its consequences on purchase intention remain for real and familiar brands, and b) the discovery of a stronger “humanization” of the brand as a major underlying reason for the existence of the trust advantage of family firms.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Authors: We think that we are able to contribute by a) finding evidence for the trust advantage of family firms even if stakeholders (in our case consumers) are already familiar with the brand, and b) by discovering “humanization” of the brand as a central mechanism explaining the trust advantage ascribed to family firms. By that we hope to bring forward the interesting field of family business branding, furthering our understanding of its antecedents and consequences based on theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence.

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

Authors: In the end and thanks to great guidance from the editorial side we were able to include all four studies into a mixed-methods design. This was challenging but the result is very satisfying.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Authors: Join in! There are lot of things to discover in the field of family business brands. As a start there are several review papers we would recommend: Beck, 2016; Binz Astrachan, Botero, Astrachan, & Prügl, 2018; and Sageder, Mitter, & Feldbauer-Durstmüller, 2018 are great starting points to quickly dive into the topic. Furthermore: just e-mail us, we are ready to discuss upcoming questions with you

What is the most important/ influential piece of scholarship you’ve read in the last year?

Authors: That is a VERY difficult question as there are so many interesting pieces out there. What we definitely would recommend: reading literature from different and seemingly unrelated areas, for example in the topic of this paper it helped us a lot to read the literature from of course family business, but also marketing, management, psychology, economics, or experimental methods.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Handshake Photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)

March Issue of Family Business Review

Read the March Issue of the Family Business Review, and stay up to date with the latest research on Family Business and Family Firms.
fbra_30_2.coverFamily Business Review (FBR) a refereed journal published quarterly since 1988, is a scholarly publication devoted exclusively to the exploration of the dynamics of family-controlled enterprise, including firms ranging in size from the very large to the relatively small.

To read more about the issue click here.

To contribute to the scholarship please visit the submissions page.

 

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Family Business Review and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

A Reflection by David Jiang on “More Than Meets the Eye”

[We’re pleased to welcome authors David S. Jiang of Georgia Southern University, Franz W. Kellermans of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Timothy P. Munyon of the  University of Tennessee, and M. Lane Morris of the University of Tennessee. They recently published an article in the Family Business Review entitled “More Than Meets the Eye: A Review and Future Directions for the Social Psychology of Socioemotional Wealth,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Jiang reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

fbra_30_2.coverThis research is based on the first author’s dissertation, which is a winner of the Family Firm Institute’s 2017 Best Dissertation Award. The article reviews 421 papers published across 25 journals during the past decade to propose new directions for the social psychology of socioemotional wealth (SEW), which is a popular concept and theoretical perspective in the family business literature that deals with the nonpecuniary benefits that family members derive from control over their family firm.

What motivated you to pursue this research?
SEW research has helped significantly advance the family business literature since Luis Gomez-Mejia and colleagues first introduced SEW in 2007. However, although SEW research has already done a lot for the literature, we also believe that it can do so much more. Motivated by these beliefs, we originally spent 2 years (2014-2015) in the review process at the Academy of Management Review (AMR) trying to outline the emotional aspects of SEW, only to have our work rejected in the last round on a split editorial team decision. After this rejection, we realized that what we really needed to do was review the SEW literature in ways that would first establish a foundation to understand the many psychological phenomena that fit within SEW research. This is why we are thrilled to have our work on this subject published in Family Business Review (FBR) – a high-quality outlet that can help further the psychological understanding of various SEW phenomena and outcomes.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research?
We think that the most challenging aspects probably came from the review process. We were trying to say something that was connected to but very different from what existing SEW research has already said and/or done. Naturally, it’s often difficult to seamlessly communicate novel ideas in ways that reviewers will immediately understand with a first draft. Recognizing this, after we received feedback from the first round of FBR reviews, we realized that we had to extensively change our analytical strategy and approach in order to be as comprehensive as possible. This way, we could address the reviewers’ many concerns while still maintaining our core message and contributions. Although our original submission to FBR reviewed 41 SEW articles, as can be seen in the published article, our final sample included 421 articles. Altogether, it was extremely challenging to increase the review’s scope by more than ten-fold in a 3-month revision window! Needless to say, the first author spent a lot of late nights culling through the expansive SEW literature to create an action plan that utilized the authorship team’s collective strengths and expertise.

How do you think your research will impact the field?
It is difficult to tell at first but we hope that our article will ultimately help build stronger family firm microfoundations. We think there are a lot of novel directions that SEW and broader family firm research could go from here and hope that other scholars will agree and join us in these pursuits!

 

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Family Business Review and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Family Constitution and Business Performance: Moderating Factors

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Rocio Arteaga and Susana Menéndez-Requejo of the University of Oviedo, Spain. They recently published an article in the Family Business Review entitled “Family Constitution and Business Performance: Moderating Factors,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

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What motivated you to pursue this research?

Family Constitution is a relevant instrument that is used in practice for facilitating the continuity of family businesses. Nevertheless few academic studies have studied Family Protocols, due to the difficulty in obtaining pertinent information at both the aggregate and company levels.

However, Spain is characterized by an above-average implementation of Family Protocols and the prominent development of institutions that are linked to family businesses. The Family Business Institute of Spain (www.iefamiliar.com) is an important international leader regarding initiatives such as the Network of Family Business Chairs that exists throughout the Spanish university system and the Family Business Regional Associations that are present and active in every region in Spain.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

We performed in-depth interviews with expert consultants who specialize in Family Constitutions to grasp primary components of a Family Constitutions. We have also analyzed a unique sample of 530 Spanish family businesses. Half of these firms received financial aid from the government to implement a Family Protocol during 2003-2013.

We present possible explanations to expect a positive relationship between Family Constitutions and future firm performance, primarily linked to its ability to reduce conflicts among family, shareholders and managers. We specifically explore the improvement in monitoring managers and firm professionalization, the improved alignment between firm owners that shareholder agreements entail, and the communication and transparency between family members that Family Constitutions foster.

We expect that this research promotes that business families engage in the complex and lengthy communication and agreements process of Family Constitutions with determination. Even during times of economic crisis, we observed that companies that had implemented a Family Protocol reported higher levels of firm performance growth.

We also expect that this article encourages family firm scholars to develop future studies regarding the topic of Family Constitutions.

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

A Family Protocol is the result of a process of communication and agreements among owners of a family business that are collated in a written document that includes a set of rules and procedures for governing family business relationships and is signed and ratified by each family member.
Family Constitutions address the firm history, the future vision of the family firm, include norms and rules for family members regarding their incorporation into the business, succession planning, shareholder agreements (transfer of shares, dividends, firm valuation), and develop power structures in the firm and the family in regard to the company (Board of Directors, Family Council). Protocols improve and channel communication, information (also prior to decision-making) and transparency among family members who are in some manner linked to the firm and guide future generations. Family Constitutions contribute to improving the coexistence and cohesion of family generations that are linked to the firm.

We observe that family businesses that implemented a Family Constitution had significantly improved performance within 2 years after the implementation. This positive relationship between the implementation of a Family Constitution and future firm performance is stronger for firms that had a nonfamily CEO, had multiple family owners, or were controlled by later generations.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Family Business Review and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Is It Better to Govern Managers Via Agency or Stewardship?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Albert E. James of Dalhousie University, Canada. James recently published an article in the Family Business Review entitled “Is It Better to Govern Managers via Agency or Stewardship? Examining Asymmetries by Family Versus Nonfamily Affiliation,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, James reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

fbra_30_2.coverThe research is based upon the first author’s dissertation. It is the result of his effort to understand the many different behaviours and outcomes that he witnessed during his 20-year career working as a non-family employee for various family firms—particularly his desire to understand why and how some families’ businesses seem to be more successful than others. It is also the result of a PhD supervisor’s determination to see her student succeed as an academic and her willingness to let him follow his passion and research questions.

The most challenging aspect of this process has been finding the way to tell the story of the research project. What is published here is the result of many re-writes, iterations, and direction changes. It was challenging to adapt concepts and measures to the particularities of the family business field. And it was challenging to make full use of the reviewers’ and editor’s advice. All in all, though, the challenges were an opportunity for a new academic to learn many things about rigorous research and publishing. Without the patient work, extensive knowledge and leadership of the co-authors, none of the challenges would have been overcome.

One of the study’s most surprising findings is the high level of positive work outcomes exhibited by both the family and non-family managers in the sample. Sometimes family business managers—of either type—are portrayed with at least a hint of negativity. Those in our sample, however, tended to score highly on behaviours and attitudes that are normally considered beneficial to organizations (i.e., job performance, organizational identification and affective commitment). As for the anticipated impact of our research, we hope that it will become known for providing empirical evidence that challenges commonly held assumptions regarding the attitudes and behaviours exhibited by non-family versus family managers and the mechanisms by which each group should be governed.

The advice I would give new scholars is to be willing to re-work the story you wanted to tell to your chosen audience. No matter how interesting you believe your research to be, you have to be willing to find the right way to tell the story. You need to tell the story in a way that fits your audience’s conversations. It is not easy to let go of parts of your research that were highly motivational for you. As hard as it is upon a first read, don’t take the reviewer and editor comments personally. Instead, take your time with the comments, let your reactions cool, and then find the nuggets and gems within them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This research started off as a study of non-family manager turnover intentions and became a story of the governance mechanisms used in family businesses. It is important to keep your eye on your end goal. If you can’t tell the entire story this time around, tell what you can, save the rest, add what you learned from the current round, and mix it into your next project.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Family Business Review and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

The Mind-Set of Editors and Reviewers

Get the latest insight on what editors are looking for in your submitted manuscript! SAGE Publishing is proud to feature the latest editorial from Family Business Review, entitled, “The Mind-Set of Editors and Reviewers.” This editorial is co-authored by James J. Chrisman, Pramodita Sharma and Jess Chua, and is currently free to read for a limited time.

Below, please find an excerpt from the editorial, shedding light on the necessary steps an author must face when preparing a manuscript that stands out:

The formula for getting a manuscript published seems deceptively simple, with an emphasis on deceptively. For family business research, the four-step process starts with authors coming up with interesting research questions, that when addressed, will change scholarly understanding of the motivation, behavior, or performance of family firms. As elaborated in the editorial by Salvato and Aldrich (2012), while there are many sources of inspiration for generating interesting research questions, in professional fields like family business studies, researchers with closer linkages to practice and/or prior literature are better positioned to identify questions that lead to usable knowledge that is not only published but also well-read and cited (cf. Lindblom & Cohen, 1979). Objectives such as simply “getting published” may be more dominant in earlier career stages. Over time, however, most scholars hope to make a difference in the mind-sets of other researchers and ultimately practitioners (Vermeulen, 2007; Zahra & Sharma, 2004). But, this does not always happen.

Click here to read the full article. Don’t forget to sign up to receive email alerts so you never miss the latest research from Family Business Review!