Handbook of Research on Family Business
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Handbook of Research on Family Business

Edited by Panikklos Zata Poutziouris, Kosmas X. Smyrnios and Sabine B. Klein

The Handbook of Research on Family Business provides a comprehensive first port of call for those wishing to survey progress in the theory and practice of family business research. In response to the extensive growth of family business as a topic of academic inquiry, the principal objective of the Handbook is to provide an authoritative and scholarly overview of current thinking in this multidisciplinary field.
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Chapter 16: Writing, Implementing and Maintaining Family Protocols

Miguel Angel Gallo and Salvatore Tomaselli


16 Formulating, implementing and maintaining family protocols Miguel Angel Gallo and Salvatore Tomaselli Introduction This chapter discusses the main variables that influence the process of writing and implementing a family protocol, and the cause–effect relationships that emerge during that process. Family protocols are commonly considered by both scholars and practitioners a valuable instrument to govern the relationship between the family and the business; furthermore, most of the authors we encountered point out that the process through which the family goes while writing the protocol is even more important than the content of the final document. On the other hand, most literature we encountered is prescriptive and, with very few exceptions (Corbetta and Montemerlo, 2001; Leon-Guerrero et al., 1998), we have not found any contribution based on empirical surveys that corroborate (or disconfirm) those statements and test the real sturdiness of such tools. The term ‘family protocol’, coined by Gallo and Ward (1991), is rooted in the stream of studies on strategic planning in family businesses, developed from the beginning of the 1980s and it is part of the most recent tide of research on corporate governance in family businesses (see, among others, Carlock and Ward, 2001; Corbetta, 1995; Corbetta and Montemerlo, 2000; Gallo, 2000; Gersick et al., 1997; Harris et al., 1994; Lank and Neubauer, 1998; Lansberg, 1999; Tomaselli, 1996; Ward, 1988; Gallo and Ward, 1991). As such studies developed and researchers concentrated their attention on specific aspects, they have coined different terms that,...

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