Chapter 9: The evolution of the family business board: a case study
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The nature and definition of family firms remain a puzzle for researchers. The family has an influence on the firm through ownership, governance and top management. This involvement of the family in the organizational processes distinguishes family companies from non-family ones (e.g. Chrisman et al., 2005). The involvement becomes visible at all the levels of family businesses: in its long-term orientation and goal setting; in its economic and non-economic motives (e.g. job creation for family members and maintenance of family harmony); and in its culture and succession planning (Chrisman et al., 2005; Westhead and Howorth, 2006). Typical of family businesses is also the simultaneous participation of many generations in the business, the implemented or planned succession in later generations’ favor and strong concentration of ownership (Churchill and Hatten, 1987; Koiranen, 1998; Chua et al., 1999; Heinonen and Toivonen, 2003; Brockhaus, 2004). This study focuses on the relationship between the family business succession and the family business board. In family business studies the board of directors has been found to have the role as an advisor, a strategic decision-making group and, of course, it represents the owners in the management (e.g. Huse, 2000; Blumentritt, 2006; Miller and Le Breton-Miller, 2006).

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