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Altruism, agency, and the competitiveness of family firms

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  • William S. Schulze

    (Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-7235, USA)

  • Michael H. Lubatkin

    (Department of Management, School of Business Administration, University of Connecticut & EM Lyon, 2100 Hillside Road, Unit 2041 MG, Storrs, CT. 06269-2041, USA)

  • Richard N. Dino

    (Department of Management, School of Business Administration, University of Connecticut 2100 Hillside Road, Unit 2041 D, Storrs, CT 06269-2041, USA)

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    Abstract

    The core belief among agency theorists is that when a firm is both owned and managed by family members, its governance structure is efficient. We argue that this belief over-simplifies the complexity of exchanges that occur among the family firm's decision agents, and does not conform to reality. We develop an alternative agency view of family firm governance that accounts for agency problems that are understated in extant agency models. These problems are rooted in the firm's ownership structure, as well as the altruistic relationships that exist between the firm's decision agents. We conclude with four propositions that address the competitive implications of this alternative view. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/mde.1064
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Managerial and Decision Economics.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4-5 ()
    Pages: 247-259

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:23:y:2002:i:4-5:p:247-259

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/7976

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    1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    4. Stark, Oded, 1989. "Altruism and the Quality of Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 86-90, May.
    5. Oded Stark & Ita Falk, 1998. "Transfers, Empathy Formation, and Reverse Transfers," Departmental Working Papers _091, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
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    9. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1974. "Limited Knowledge and Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 1-10, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Erich Battistin & Paolo Bortoluzzi & Fabio Buttignon & Martina Serafini & Marco Vedovato, 2013. "The Effects of Private Equity on Targets: Majority versus Minority Investments," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0167, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    2. Massimo Colombo & Annalisa Croce & Samuele Murtinu, 2014. "Ownership structure, horizontal agency costs and the performance of high-tech entrepreneurial firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 265-282, February.
    3. Chua, Jess H. & Chrisman, James J. & Kellermanns, Franz & Wu, Zhenyu, 2011. "Family involvement and new venture debt financing," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 472-488, July.
    4. Hsi-Mei Chung, 2013. "The role of family management and family ownership in diversification: The case of family business groups," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 871-891, September.
    5. Basco, Rodrigo, 2013. "The family's effect on family firm performance: A model testing the demographic and essence approaches," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 42-66.
    6. Rodrigo Basco, 2012. "The effect of family-oriented objectives on board composition," Documentos de Trabajo en Economia y Ciencia Regional 27, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2012.
    7. Ethiopia Segaro, 2012. "Internationalization of family SMEs: the impact of ownership, governance, and top management team," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 147-169, February.
    8. McGuire, Jean & Dow, Sandra & Ibrahim, Bakr, 2012. "All in the family? Social performance and corporate governance in the family firm," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(11), pages 1643-1650.
    9. Vroom, Govert & Mccann, Brian T., 2009. "Ownership structure, profit maximization, and competitive behavior," IESE Research Papers D/800, IESE Business School.
    10. Kim, Y. & Gao, F.Y., 2013. "Does family involvement increase business performance? Family-longevity goals’ moderating role in Chinese family firms," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 265-274.
    11. Memili, Esra & Chrisman, James J. & Chua, Jess H. & Chang, Erick P.C. & Kellermanns, Franz W., 2011. "The determinants of family firms' subcontracting: A transaction cost perspective," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 26-33, March.
    12. Guidice, Rebecca M. & Mero, Neal P. & Greene, Juanne V., 2013. "Perceptions of accountability in family business: Using accountability theory to understand differences between family and nonfamily executives," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 233-244.
    13. Astrachan, Joseph H., 2010. "Strategy in family business: Toward a multidimensional research agenda," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 6-14, March.
    14. Mann, Stefan, 2009. "The Nature of the Diversified Farm Household," Working Papers 56726, Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon (ART).
    15. Muñoz-Bullón, Fernando & Sánchez-Bueno, Maria J., 2012. "Do family ties shape the performance consequences of diversification? Evidence from the European Union," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 469-477.
    16. Pieper, Torsten M., 2010. "Non solus: Toward a psychology of family business," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 26-39, March.
    17. Qiang Liang & Xinchun Li & Xueru Yang & Danming Lin & Danhui Zheng, 2013. "How does family involvement affect innovation in China?," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 677-695, September.
    18. Salvatore Sciascia & Pietro Mazzola & Joseph Astrachan & Torsten Pieper, 2012. "The role of family ownership in international entrepreneurship: exploring nonlinear effects," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 15-31, January.
    19. Eberhard, Manuel & Craig, Justin, 2013. "The evolving role of organisational and personal networks in international market venturing," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 385-397.
    20. Lutz, Eva & Schraml, Stephanie & Achleitner, Ann-Kristin, 2010. "Loss of control vs. risk reduction: decision factors for hiring non-family CFOs in family firms," CEFS Working Paper Series 2010-04, Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS), Technische Universität München.
    21. Eddleston, Kimberly A. & Kellermanns, Franz W., 2007. "Destructive and productive family relationships: A stewardship theory perspective," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 545-565, July.
    22. Collin, Sven-Olof Yrjö & Ahlberg, Jenny, 2012. "Blood in the boardroom: Family relationships influencing the functions of the board," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 207-219.

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