Edited by Panikklos Zata Poutziouris, Kosmas X. Smyrnios and Sabine B. Klein
Chapter 15: The Professionalization of Family Firms: Theory and Practice
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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