Edited by Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson
Richard Harris and Renee Reid Introduction The literature on family-owned businesses (FoBs) has struggled to deﬁne what distinguishes such ﬁrms from others. Early researchers concentrated on the coincidence of shareholder (ownership), governance and management roles and particularly the problems surrounding intergenerational succession, while there has long been recognition of the intrinsic fragility of FoBs arising from the potential conﬂict between family and business goals. For many the focus is on trans-generational value creation which, as Chrisman et al. point out ‘captures multiple goals and a purpose that transcends proﬁtability, better than wealth creation that really represents the means rather than the ends of family enterprise’ (2003: p. 468). Deﬁnitions of FoBs have focused on their ‘intention’ (Litz, 1995), ‘vision’ (Shanker and Astrachan, 1996) or ‘behaviour’ (Chua et al., 1999). Chrisman et al. (2003) argue that FoBs consist of: (i) the intention to maintain family control; (ii) family involvement that leads to a unique, inseparable and synergistic set of resources and capabilities; and (iii) the planning and execution of family succession issues. Unfortunately researchers often do not have access to the requisite information to make such distinctions and thus tend to operate using a more pragmatic approach (Daily and Dollinger, 1993). In this study we are constrained by the question asked in the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) about ownership and FoBs are deﬁned as those ﬁrms where 50 per cent or more of the business is owned by one person or a family (Kersley...
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