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 12: Critical pedagogy theory and the family business

Henrietta Nilson

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


In contemporary times family business research has been dominated by three theoretical perspectives: principal–agent theory, stewardship theory and resource-based view theory but at the same time scholars argue that what still needs further attention is how underlying processes and phenomena can be explained. In order to understand themes such as repression or relations of asymmetry the suggestion in this chapter is to move towards a critical stance of thinking which involves problematising the obvious issues in family firms and moreover allowing the critical perspective to destabilise assumptions made within earlier research. By discussing critical theory in general, but foremost the Freirean critical pedagogy specifically, the arguments in the chapter revolve around how critical pedagogy can open up a more novel view on family business. Critical pedagogy is used to discuss family business from a limited situation perspective, and to argue for a Freirean dialogue as a means of developing a critical consciousness for family members in the family business context. The chapter concludes with some recommendations on platforms or common ground in which dialogue and raising of consciousness can occur in which the concept can open up possibilities for interesting learning transfer and bring multidimensional knowledge into the family firm. Keywords: family business, critical theory, Freire, critical pedagogy, conscientização, critical consciousness, dialogue, limited situations, untested possibilities, triple hermeneutics

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information