Edited by Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Mattias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto
Chapter 3: Behavioural theory and the family business
More than 50 years have passed since Cyert and March’s (1963) A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (BTOF). During this time, BTOF has been adopted across different research domains to investigate how organisations set goals, how they determine aspirations and how they finally react to performance aspiration discrepancies. Cyert and March’s framework has also recently emerged as one of the dominant paradigms to understand the ways in which family business organisations make decisions. In this chapter, I review the theoretical development and empirical results of BTOF and its application in the family business field of study in order to identify theoretical and empirical gaps and propose suggestions for future research. The conclusions suggest that BTOF is both a theoretically and empirically valid perspective in family business research, particularly when combined with other theoretical frameworks. The principal recommendation is to apply behavioural theory to enhance scholarly understanding of how family organisations define their aspiration levels and respond to organisational problems. Keywords: behavioural theory, organisational aspiration, problemistic search, organisational goal, family business
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