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Board Roles in Small and Medium-Sized Family Businesses: performance and importance

Author

Listed:
  • Jeroen van den Heuvel
  • Anita Van Gils

    (Organization and Strategy Department of Maastricht University)

  • Wim Voordeckers

    (KIZOK Research Institute of Hasselt University)

Abstract

The board of directors is regarded as one of the most imperative governance mechanisms in small and medium-sized family firms. Empirical studies examining both the roles these boards fulfil in a family business context, as well as evaluating the CEO's perceived importance of these roles, are scarce. Founded by a range of conceptual and multi-theoretical board role definitions, this paper contributes to the literature by empirically determining board roles. Furthermore, the importance of these board roles and differences between the board's performance and perceived importance are assessed. The results show it is indispensable to differentiate between two aggregated roles that boards in small and medium-sized family firms perform: control and service. The control role is predominantly based on agency theory, whereas the service role includes multiple theoretical perspectives. The CEOs of the family firms perceive the service role of the board as most important. However, in order to direct succession and to compensate for the owner/manager's altruistic behaviour, the board's control role should not be neglected. The acknowledgement of these two aggregated board roles and their importance may enhance future research on board roles within specific contexts. Copyright (c) 2006 The Authors; Journal compilation (c) 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeroen van den Heuvel & Anita Van Gils & Wim Voordeckers, 2006. "Board Roles in Small and Medium-Sized Family Businesses: performance and importance," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 467-485, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:corgov:v:14:y:2006:i:5:p:467-485
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Huse, Morten, 1993. "Relational norms as a supplement to neo-classical understanding of directorates: An empirical study of boards of directors," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 219-240.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yannick Bammens & Wim Voordeckers & Anita Gils, 2008. "Boards of directors in family firms: a generational perspective," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 163-180, August.
    2. Steijvers, Tensie & Niskanen, Mervi, 2014. "Tax aggressiveness in private family firms: An agency perspective," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 347-357.
    3. Pugliese, A. & Bezemer, P.J. & Zattoni, A. & Huse, M. & van den Bosch, F.A.J. & Volberda, H.W., 2009. "Boards of Directors’ Contribution to Strategy: A Literature Review and Research Agenda," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2009-013-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-077 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. García-Ramos, Rebeca & García-Olalla, Myriam, 2011. "Board characteristics and firm performance in public founder- and nonfounder-led family businesses," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 220-231.
    7. Yeh, Chien Mu & Taylor, Tracy & Hoye, Russell, 2009. "Board roles in organisations with a dual board system: Empirical evidence from Taiwanese nonprofit sport organisations," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, May.
    8. Imen Khanchel El Mehdi, 2014. "Les conseils d’administration dans les PME tunisiennes," Working Papers 2014-77, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    9. 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.
    10. Woods, Jeremy A. & Dalziel, Thomas & Barton, Sidney L., 2012. "Escalation of commitment in private family businesses: The influence of outside board members," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 18-27.
    11. repec:kap:jmgtgv:v:21:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10997-016-9363-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Bauweraerts, Jonathan & Colot, Olivier, 2017. "Exploring nonlinear effects of family involvement in the board on entrepreneurial orientation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 185-192.
    13. Rebeca García-Ramos & Belén Díaz-Díaz & Myriam García-Olalla, 2017. "Independent directors, large shareholders and firm performance: the generational stage of family businesses and the socioemotional wealth approach," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 119-156, January.
    14. Wirtz, Peter, 2011. "The cognitive dimension of corporate governance in fast growing entrepreneurial firms," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 431-447.
    15. Lardon, Andy & Deloof, Marc & Jorissen, Ann, 2017. "Outside CEOs, board control and the financing policy of small privately held family firms," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 29-41.
    16. Morten Huse & Sabina Nielsen & Inger Hagen, 2009. "Women and Employee-Elected Board Members, and Their Contributions to Board Control Tasks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(4), pages 581-597, November.
    17. Basco, Rodrigo & Pérez Rodríguez, María José, 2011. "Ideal types of family business management: Horizontal fit between family and business decisions and the relationship with family business performance," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 151-165.
    18. Maarten Vandewaerde & Wim Voordeckers & Frank Lambrechts & Yannick Bammens, 2011. "Board Team Leadership Revisited: A Conceptual Model of Shared Leadership in the Boardroom," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 104(3), pages 403-420, December.
    19. Pugliese, Amedeo & Minichilli, Alessandro & Zattoni, Alessandro, 2014. "Integrating agency and resource dependence theory: Firm profitability, industry regulation, and board task performance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 1189-1200.
    20. Lin, Wen-Ting, 2012. "Family ownership and internationalization processes: Internationalization pace, internationalization scope, and internationalization rhythm," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 47-56.
    21. Stockmans, Annelies & Lybaert, Nadine & Voordeckers, Wim, 2013. "The conditional nature of board characteristics in constraining earnings management in private family firms," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 84-92.
    22. Vandebeek, Alana & Voordeckers, Wim & Lambrechts, Frank & Huybrechts, Jolien, 2016. "Board role performance and faultlines in family firms: The moderating role of formal board evaluation," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 249-259.
    23. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11573-016-0835-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Calabrò, Andrea & Torchia, Mariateresa & Pukall, Thilo & Mussolino, Donata, 2013. "The influence of ownership structure and board strategic involvement on international sales: The moderating effect of family involvement," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 509-523.

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