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 15: The Professionalization of Family Firms: Theory and Practice

Lucrezia Songini


15 The professionalization of family firms: theory and practice Lucrezia Songini This chapter contributes to the debate on the professionalization of family firms. It is a positioning paper, whose main aim is to highlight the state of the art of literature and studies about the professionalization of family-owned businesses. A detailed review of most significant theoretical streams is presented in order to outline the features, the drivers and the effect of professionalization of family firms. Based on the literature analysis, some research hypotheses are presented, which have been tested on a sample of Italian enterprises. Finally, the implications and limitations of the study are outlined. The structure of the chapter is as follows. First, the main features of family firms are outlined, which can impact on the professionalization. Secondly, the main aspects and features of professionalization are highlighted. Thirdly, the relationships between professionalization and company performance are presented. Fourthly, the main theoretical streams which dealt with professionalization are outlined in order to classify them into two categories: theories which point out the drivers and needs of professionalization and theories which explain mostly the reasons to avoid it. Then, some hypotheses about the professionalization of family firms are presented along with the results of the analysis of a sample of Italian companies. The features of family firms The main features of family businesses are the coincidence of shareholder, governance and management roles; an intrinsic fragility related to the very strong and sometimes conflicting relationship between the family and...

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