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Family Firms: A Breed of Extremes?

Danny Miller and Isabelle Le Breton-Miller

Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 2021, vol. 45, issue 4, 663-681

Abstract: Conflicts in the family business literature abound due to the breed’s heterogeneity. However, a key aspect of heterogeneity has been ignored—a tendency for many family firms to gravitate toward unusual and opposite extremes in their behavior toward stakeholders and their strategic initiatives. We attribute these to family emotional bonds, secrecy from scrutiny, and exceptional managerial discretion. These bivalent qualities may combine to cause both salutary and abusive treatment of stakeholders as well as extraordinary success and abysmal failure at strategic initiatives—depending on the temporal and social priorities of family owners. We present moderating conditions and propositions before developing theoretical and methodological implications.

Keywords: family firms; heterogeneity; extreme conduct (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/1042258720964186

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