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 2: An Overview of the Field of Family Business Studies: Current Status and Directions for the Future

Pramodita Sharma


2 An overview of the field of family business studies: current status and directions for the future Pramodita Sharma Whether measured in terms of number of published articles,1 publication outlets,2 schools offering family business programs,3 research support provided by private donors and foundations,4 or the membership of family firm associations,5 the interest in family business studies is increasing. As a field of study develops, it is important to intermittently pause to evaluate the progress made and reflect on the directions to pursue in future so as to gain deeper insights into the phenomenon of interest. The purpose of this review is to provide such a reflective moment for the field of family business studies, as the primary scholarly journal of the field, Family Business Review, embarks on its new journey with Blackwell Publishing. The guiding principle of any professional investigation in social sciences is to clarify our understanding of the segment of the social world that is of interest (Lindblom and Cohen, 1979). Scholars and practitioners interested in family firm studies seek to gain new insights and knowledge into the causal processes that underlie these firms (cf. Lewin, 1940). Theory is an efficient tool that guides the development of knowledge because it helps make connections among observed phenomenon, thereby helping build conceptual frameworks that stimulate understanding (Sutton and Staw, 1995). It aids in building connections between the work at hand and preexisting research, thus making use of our cumulative knowledge to...

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