Handbook of Research on Family Business, Second Edition
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Handbook of Research on Family Business, Second Edition

Edited by Kosmas X. Smyrnios, Panikkos Z. Poutziouris and Sanjay Goel

During the previous decade, the multi-disciplinary field of family business has advanced significantly in terms of advances in theory, development of sophisticated empirical instruments, systematic measurement of family business activity, use of alternative research methodologies and deployment of robust tools of analysis. This second edition of the Handbook of Research on Family Business presents important research and conceptual developments across a broad range of topics. The contributors – notable researchers in the field – explore the frontiers of knowledge in family business entrepreneurship and stimulate critical thinking, enriching the repository of theoretical frameworks and methodologies.
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Chapter 6: Family governance bodies: a conceptual typology

Alexander Koeberle-Schmid and Donella Caspersz


Achieving continuity of a family business is extremely challenging, particularly when the number of family members and owners increases. On the one hand, an expanded number of owners and family members widens the pool of talent available and extends the resource base of the firm (Barney, 1991; Habbershon and Williams, 1999; Bubolz, 2001; Sirmon and Hitt, 2003; Arregle et al., 2007), thus reducing the need to attract capabilities such as managerial or financial talent from outside the family, while simultaneously strengthening internal family resources and bonds (Sirmon and Hitt, 2003). However, expanding the number of owners and family members also increases complexity, especially in the number of roles played by family members. The three-circle model (Davis, 1982; Tagiuri and Davis, [1982] 1996) suggests that family members can engage in one of seven sectors formed by the overlapping of the family, business and ownership systems; for instance, family members may be directors, executive officers as well as owners. This complexity signals the potential for conflicts to emerge, in particular, between non-managerial/director family owners and manager/director family owners (Schulze et al., 2003; Ng, 2005), as numbers and skills minimize the opportunity for all family owners to be involved in the firm beyond participating in an annual general meeting (AGM) (Vilaseca, 2002).

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