Edited by Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Mattias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto
Chapter 5: Behavioural agency theory and the family business
The behavioural agency theory was developed to provide a more comprehensive explanation and prediction of managerial risk taking, in response to some shortcomings of agency theory. In general, the theory offers explanations of why decision makers prefer some strategic choices to others. The use of behavioural agency theory in family business research has, however, been very limited. Family business scholars recently adapted this theory to construct the family business variant, the ‘socioemotional wealth’ construct, which offers better explanations for the risk taking and decision making behaviours of family firms. This chapter provides an overview of behavioural agency theory and the socioemotional wealth construct, explores how they have been used in family business research, and offers suggestions for how this theory can be used in further research to contribute to both the family business and the general management literature. Keywords: family business, behavioural agency theory, socioemotional wealth, family firm heterogeneity
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