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Family businesses in the Arab Middle East: What do we know and where should we go?

Georges Samara

Journal of Family Business Strategy, 2021, vol. 12, issue 3

Abstract: This article takes stock of family business research in the Arab Middle East by systematically reviewing 70 articles published between 2000 and 2018. Results show that prevalent cultural traits of patriarchy and collectivism have led to a high commitment to the family business workforce, to the ceremonial appointment of women in leadership positions, to prioritizing family harmony over any other goal, to the pursuit of male dynastic succession that sustains the vision of the founder, and to informal human resources practices. Furthermore, the presence of institutional voids has facilitated the adoption of informal governance structures and has led controlling owners to adopt conservative financial strategies. These practices translate into various firm economic and societal outcomes, depending on the business legal structure, the generational ownership stage, and the family relationship dynamics. Despite these insights, much of prior research on family businesses in the Arab Middle East remains exploratory and unfocused, which emphasizes an evident need for contextualized, theoretically rich, and methodologically rigorous studies. In conclusion, the article proposes an agenda to advance future research on family businesses in the Arab Middle East.

Keywords: Arab Middle East; Developing countries; Emerging countries; Family business; Literature review (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jfbs.2020.100359

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