The behavioural agency theory was developed to provide a more comprehensive explanation and prediction of managerial risk taking, in response to some shortcomings of agency theory. In general, the theory offers explanations of why decision makers prefer some strategic choices to others. The use of behavioural agency theory in family business research has, however, been very limited. Family business scholars recently adapted this theory to construct the family business variant, the ‘socioemotional wealth’ construct, which offers better explanations for the risk taking and decision making behaviours of family firms. This chapter provides an overview of behavioural agency theory and the socioemotional wealth construct, explores how they have been used in family business research, and offers suggestions for how this theory can be used in further research to contribute to both the family business and the general management literature. Keywords: family business, behavioural agency theory, socioemotional wealth, family firm heterogeneity
Edited by Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Mattias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto
Mattias Nordqvist, Leif Melin, Matthias Waldkirch and Gershon Kumeto
As the field of family business has grown immensely over the last couple of decades, a multitude of theories from different fields has been introduced. However, there are surprisingly few attempts to provide an overview of theories that may be of particular interest for the family business scholar. Thus, this introduction chapter gives a critical overview of theoretical perspectives, before taking a closer look at the use of theories in family business studies. Regarding the current state of the family business field, the authors argue for putting more effort in building theory from family business research as well as a stronger emphasis on ‘giving back’ to theories borrowed from other fields. Lastly, the chapter describes the development of the book and introduces the 13 chapters and their contributions.