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 13: Corporate reputation and the family business

Albertha Wielsma

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


Corporate reputation is a largely neglected topic in the family firm literature. That neglect is surprising because corporate reputation is found to be an important source of competitive advantage and can therefore be an explanatory factor for firm performance and behaviour. The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the field of family business by demonstrating the potential of the reputation research in this field. The chapter first introduces the corporate reputation construct and how this construct and the related constructs of image and reputation capital are approached in the literature from different disciplines. The second part of the chapter provides a review of the current family business literature on this topic. Three approaches of corporate reputation have been identified: 1. reputation of family firms as an assessment by stakeholders,. 2. reputation as a managerial goal to preserve socioemotional wealth and. 3. reputation as a communication goal or strategy of family firms. The discussion of the literature identifies major gaps in our knowledge and in our methodological orientation that represent opportunities for future research. Keywords: family firms, corporate reputation, image, identity, reputation capital

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