Chapter 5: Researching family firm heterogeneity: a guide to identifying firm-level categorical and variational differences
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As family business scholarship has evolved, studies have progressed from comparing family and nonfamily firms to examining the differences among family firms. However, despite the increased insights on family firm heterogeneity, the types of differences examined remain inconsistent and imprecise. The inability to articulate such differences is likely to result in imprecise theory development, empirical inaccuracies, and misguided practical insights. Therefore, this chapter offers a practical guide for identifying two primary types of difference among family firms: categorical and variational. Specifically, this guide offers an overview of family firm heterogeneity and provides examples of categorical and variational differences that exist within the goals, governance, and resources of family firms. By deconstructing family firm heterogeneity and offering examples of these differences, this chapter helps to enhance consistency and accuracy in the literature while advancing the direction of research by mapping promising pathways.

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