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 7: Business Family as a Team: Underlying Force for Sustained Competitive Advantage

Lorraine M. Uhlaner


Lorraine M. Uhlaner Introduction One of the challenges in past research on family owned and managed firms has been to identify the family characteristics that matter, in prediction of firm strategies and business performance. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a new concept, that of business family, and to identify aspects of the business family likely to impact business strategy and performance. The proposed framework draws on a wide range of research from different social science and business disciplines. The basic premise is that business families can be viewed as a specific type of team. Similar to teams more generally, the effective business family shares values and norms, has clear roles and procedures, and is able to resolve conflicts effectively among its members. A model and propositions are generated that relate different aspects of the business family, including business family cohesiveness, performance norms and characteristics of business family effectiveness, with business performance. For the purpose of this chapter, the Dynamic System Planning (DSP) Model, a general systems theory based model of organization effectiveness, is used to identify different dimensions of business performance. Also important in the development of the framework are the notions of family orientation and business orientation, viewed in this chapter as two types of business family performance norms. The first section of this chapter presents background from the existing literature, including definitions of key terms such as the family, family business, business family, teams and...

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