Governing family businesses. A research map

Bassani Gaia, Cattaneo Cristiana, Cristiano Elena, Leotta Antonio

Family owned businesses (FOBs) are a widespread form of enterprise across the world that faces specific challenges. The co-presence of family and non-family members, the alignment between family and business interests, the need to integrate the new generation’s view with the vision of the founder are just some examples of challenges that influence the performance and even the survival of a FOB. Family business scholars have considered these examples of challenges through the topics of professionalization and succession. The challenges of professionalization and succession can be usefully reduced to a search for alliances: between family and non-family members, for the challenges of professionalization; within family members, between the founder, the family organization and the future successors, for the challenges of succession. The search for alliances between the various aforementioned actors needs to be held in time for a FOB to survive; put it other ways, the search for alliances needs the construction of networks to be governed in time. Thus, governing a FOB cannot be reduced to the traditional domain of business governance, namely to a search for appropriate governance structures and incentive mechanisms aimed to align the owner’s and the management’s interests. Rather, governing FOBs needs to be conceived of as a continuous and dynamic search for composing the different interests of the actors mentioned above (van der Meer-Kooistra and Scapens, 2008), namely a continuous process of constructing networks of allies around professionalization and succession challenges. […]

Key-Words: Entrepreneurship and Family Business

Fig. 1 Conceptual framework