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Edited by Panikklos Zata Poutziouris, Kosmas X. Smyrnios and Sabine B. Klein
Chapter 9: The F-PEC Scale of Family Influence: A Proposal for Solving the Family Business Definition Problem
9 The F-PEC scale of family inﬂuence: a proposal for solving the family business deﬁnition problem1 Joseph H. Astrachan, Sabine B. Klein and Kosmas X. Smyrnios2 The deﬁnition problem in family business research Although in 1989, Handler said that ‘deﬁning the family ﬁrm is the ﬁrst and most obvious challenge facing family business researchers’ (p. 258), more then 10 years later, the challenge remains. To date, there is ‘no widely accepted deﬁnition of a family business’ (Littunen and Hyrsky, 2000, p. 41). Instead, various deﬁnitions are reported in the literature. An analysis of the literature suggests three principal ways in which to consider the plethora of deﬁnitions: content, purpose, and form. Most deﬁnitions and classiﬁcations focus on content (for example, Handler, 1989; Heck and Scannell Trent, 1999; Litz, 1995). However, deﬁnitions cited earlier in the literature mostly concern ownership (for example, Berry, 1975; Lansberg et al., 1988), ownership and management involvement of an owning family (Barnes and Hershon, 1976; Burch, 1972), and generational transfer (Ward, 1987). In contrast, more recent deﬁnitions concentrate on family business culture (Dreux IV and Brown, 1999; Litz, 1995). A deﬁnition of family business can either serve a distinct research purpose (for example, Dean, 1992) or assist in diﬀerentiating family from nonfamily ﬁrms (Klein, 2000a). Moreover, deﬁnitions can be employed for structural purposes, such as subdividing a sample into various categories (Daily and Thompson, 1994). Deﬁnitions can also be employed for...
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