Family Firms and Institutional Contexts
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Family Firms and Institutional Contexts

Business Models, Innovation and Competitive Advantage

Edited by Giorgia M. D’Allura, Andrea Colli and Sanjay Goel

Featuring in-depth analysis of original research, this innovative book takes an interdisciplinary, cross-national approach to the study of family firms as institutions as well as the relationship between family firms and external institutions. It demonstrates the impact of these interactions both on the firms and institutions themselves and in the wider economic context, and provides important conceptual insights as well as ideas for future research agendas.
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Chapter 8: Financial performance and corporate reputation in family firms: is it about being good or being known?

Alexandra Dawson


Family businesses are more likely than non-family businesses to respond to pressures from the institutional context, such as rules, norms and public or regulatory pressures, by being particularly careful about maintaining their corporate reputation and preserving the family name. Furthermore, corporate reputation is an important intangible asset for family firms, giving them competitive advantage in their industries. However, the family business literature has considered the corporate reputation construct as being unidimensional. By drawing on corporate reputation literature, the aim of this exploratory study is to investigate the relationship between a key antecedent of corporate reputation, firm financial performance, and the two dimensions of corporate reputation: favourability and prominence. By distinguishing between the two dimensions, this study of large public family firms indicates that financial performance is positively associated with both dimensions, whilst also finding a negative relationship between favourability and prominence. Overall the findings point towards a contractual perspective of corporate reputation in family firms, with reputation accounting for firms’ past behaviour and performance, allowing these businesses to continue accumulating and managing resources to sustain their competitive advantage.

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