Theoretical Perspectives on Family Businesses

Theoretical Perspectives on Family Businesses

Edited by Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Mattias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto

Family business has become an increasingly studied field over the last decade and forms one of the fastest growing research areas today. The uniqueness of family businesses is the interaction between two systems; the family and the business systems, leading to specific characteristics that we rarely see in other types of businesses. In order to understand the interaction between the family and the business systems, researchers have adopted a diverse range of theories from different fields. The contributors provide a thorough discussion of thirteen theoretical perspectives that have been used in family business research to a varying degree. Each chapter introduces a theory, demonstrates its previous application in family business research and offers compelling ideas for future research that could contribute to both the family business field and the original theory behind it. This book aims to spark new insights for researchers and PhD students in the field of family business, and is also a good introduction for researchers who are new to the field.

Chapter 1: Introducing theoretical perspectives on family business

Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Matthias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business, organisational behaviour, organisation studies


As the field of family business has grown immensely over the last couple of decades, a multitude of theories from different fields has been introduced. However, there are surprisingly few attempts to provide an overview of theories that may be of particular interest for the family business scholar. Thus, this introduction chapter gives a critical overview of theoretical perspectives, before taking a closer look at the use of theories in family business studies. Regarding the current state of the family business field, the authors argue for putting more effort in building theory from family business research as well as a stronger emphasis on ‘giving back’ to theories borrowed from other fields. Lastly, the chapter describes the development of the book and introduces the 13 chapters and their contributions.