Family, Wealth, and Governance: An Agency Account

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract

Family firms often evolve into ownership constellations with multiple family owners. Building on agency theory, we argue that the growing complexity within a group of family blockholders gives rise to what we label family blockholder conflicts, defined as conflicts within a group of family owners. To curb family blockholder conflicts, families often separate the family from its assets and install intermediary governance structures. We explore four frequently applied structures (uncoordinated family, embedded family office, single family office, and family trust), which vary in their degree of separation between family owners and assets and consequently the extent to which the firm might incur family blockholder costs and the double-agency costs associated with appointing agents to oversee agents. We conclude with a discussion of the distributive effects of the four family governance constellations for family wealth over time.

Authors Zellweger, Thomas & Kammerlander, Nadine
Journal or Publication Title Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
Language English
Keywords family firm; longevity; family office; trust; family blockholder conflicts; double-agency costs
Subjects business studies
Institute/School IMP - Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance
KMU - Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date November 2015
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of Publication Malden, Mass.
Volume 39
Number 6
Page Range 1281-1303
Number of Pages 34
ISSN 1042-2587
ISSN-Digital 1540-6520
Publisher DOI 10.1111/etap.12182
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Nadine Kammerlander
Date Deposited 04 Feb 2015 20:47
Last Modified 23 Aug 2016 11:21
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/238997

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Citation

Zellweger, Thomas & Kammerlander, Nadine (2015) Family, Wealth, and Governance: An Agency Account. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39 (6). 1281-1303. ISSN 1042-2587

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/238997
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