Toward a Paradox Perspective of Family Firms: the Moderating Role of Collective Mindfulness of Controlling Families

Item Type Book Section
Abstract Despite numerous attempts to establish the link between family involvement and firm performance, research findings are alarmingly inconsistent. Some researchers, mostly drawing from traditional economics, depict a very pessimistic picture, suggesting that family involvement is a source of fundamental inefficiency because of owner-owner agency conflicts, resource constraints, and family utility maximization that detracts from firm value maximization (Dharwadkar, George, & Brandes, 2000; La Porta, Lopez-De-Silanes, Shleifer, & Vishny, 2002; Morck & Yeung, 2003; Peng & Jiang, 2010). Other researchers, however, referring to reduced owner-manager agency conflicts, concerns for long-term organizational prosperity, and the provision of unique resources such as patient financial capital, suggest that family-owned firms outperform nonfamily firms (Anderson & Reeb, 2003; Barontini & Caprio, 2005; McConaughy, Walker, Henderson, & Mishra, 1998; Villalonga & Amit, 2006). This favorable perspective has found support in a recent meta-analysis of studies on family firm performance in the U.S. stock market, which indicate a systematic outperformance of family firms (Carney, Gedajlovic, & van Essen, 2011). While inconsistent empirical findings on fundamental questions are not uncommon in management research, the theoretical inconsistencies are particularly worrying and raise fundamental concerns about the adequacy of our linear reasoning on the (in)efficiency of family involvement. What is noteworthy is that the concerns for tensions and theoretical inconsistencies have been very prominent in earlier family business writings (e.g., Tagiuri & Davis, 1996; Whiteside & Brown, 1991). Unfortunately, however, and most likely in consequence to a shift towards empiricist research methodologies that are best suited to uncover linear relationships, the attention of academics over the last years has moved away from how family firms deal with tensions and competing forces.
Authors Zellweger, Thomas
Editors Melin, Leif; Nordqvist, Mattias & Sharma, Pramodita
Language English
Keywords Family firm, paradox
Subjects business studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SoM - Responsible Corporate Competitiveness (RoCC)
Refereed No
Date 2013
Publisher Sage
Place of Publication Los Angeles, CA
Volume 1. ed.
Page Range 648-655
Number of Pages 8
Title of Book The Sage handbook of family business
ISBN 978-0-85702-363-6
Publisher DOI
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Thomas Zellweger
Date Deposited 26 Aug 2012 20:48
Last Modified 23 Aug 2016 11:14


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Zellweger, Thomas: Toward a Paradox Perspective of Family Firms: the Moderating Role of Collective Mindfulness of Controlling Families. In Melin, Leif; Nordqvist, Mattias & Sharma, Pramodita (ed.): The Sage handbook of family business. Los Angeles, CA : Sage, 2013, S. 648-655.

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