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One size does not fit all: Entrepreneurial families’ reliance on family offices


  • Wessel, Stephan
  • Decker, Carolin
  • Lange, Knut S.G.
  • Hack, Andreas


Family offices are organisations dedicated to the management of entrepreneurial families’ private wealth. Based on agency theory, we analyse types of family offices with regard to the families’ goals and the control mechanisms used to ensure goal achievement. Family-dominant management and private client structures involve stronger emphasis on non-financial goals in single and multi-family offices than in non-family-dominant management and open client structures. Variations in family involvement, ranging from family dominance to the complete absence of family ownership and/or management, and diverse client structures justify the differential reliance on formal and informal control mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Wessel, Stephan & Decker, Carolin & Lange, Knut S.G. & Hack, Andreas, 2014. "One size does not fit all: Entrepreneurial families’ reliance on family offices," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 37-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:32:y:2014:i:1:p:37-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2013.08.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Aldrich, Howard E. & Brumana, Mara & Campopiano, Giovanna & Minola, Tommaso, 2021. "Embedded but not asleep: Entrepreneurship and family business research in the 21st century," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1).
    2. Block, Joern & Fisch, Christian & Vismara, Silvio & Andres, René, 2019. "Private equity investment criteria: An experimental conjoint analysis of venture capital, business angels, and family offices," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 329-352.
    3. Elena Rivo-López & Mónica Villanueva-Villar & Alberto Vaquero-García, 2016. "Family office: a new category in family business research?," Working Papers. Collection C: Family business 1601, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    4. Carolin Decker & Knut S G Lange, 2016. "The global field of multi-family offices: An institutionalist perspective," Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(1), pages 64-75, March.
    5. Schickinger, Antonia & Leitterstorf, Max P. & Kammerlander, Nadine, 2018. "Private equity and family firms: A systematic review and categorization of the field," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 268-292.
    6. Nason, Robert S. & Carney, Michael & Le Breton-Miller, Isabelle & Miller, Danny, 2019. "Who cares about socioemotional wealth? SEW and rentier perspectives on the one percent wealthiest business households," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 144-158.

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