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 18: The adoption of high-performance work systems in family versus non-family SMEs: the moderating effect of organizational size

Daniel Pittino and Francesca Visintin


Several arguments in the field of family business research suggest that human resource management (HRM) practices are one of the fundamental drivers for the success and longevity of family companies (e.g. Astrachan and Kolenko, 1994; Sirmon and Hitt, 2003; Miller et al., 2008; Miller et al., 2009; Astrachan, 2010). Family businesses are often believed to treat their employees with high consideration, building cohesive internal communities and fostering extraordinary motivation and commitment. But how do these attitudes towards employees relate to the so-called ‘high-performance’ human resource management systems that have been increasingly identified as a fundamental driver of competitive advantage by the organization and management literature in the past two decades? And how does the family influence on the business affect the rate of adoption of these HRM systems? Empirical evidence and theoretical reflection on these topics are still relatively scarce in comparison to other themes in the field of family business studies; more extensive research is therefore needed on the way human resource policies and practices are developed in family businesses (Astrachan, 2010).

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