The Landscape of Family Business

The Landscape of Family Business

Edited by Ritch L. Sorenson, Andy Yu, Keith H. Brigham and G. T. Lumpkin

The Landscape of Family Business expands upon groundbreaking research to offer owners, consultants, and academics a new holistic way to view family business.

Chapter 4: Social and economic impact of family business

Keith H. Brigham

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business


Do family firms matter? While there is a growing interest in family business studies, there is an ongoing debate as to the effectiveness of the family firm as an organizational configuration. The overarching purpose of this chapter is to increase our understanding of the social and economic contribution of family firms. More specifically, I will address how existing research can inform us about the effectiveness of family firms and where there are gaps in our knowledge and understanding. Therefore, this chapter has a descriptive element that relates to what we know, and a prescriptive element that relates to what we need to know to achieve more positive family business outcomes. In order to provide some boundaries around the scope of the discussion, I will use the framework presented by Yu, Lumpkin, Sorenson, and Brigham (2012) as the foundation of this chapter. Yu et al. (2012) conducted a review of the family business literature covering the period from 1998–2009. Their analysis focused on the dependent variables (outcomes) that researchers had examined.

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