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The concept of "Familiness": Literature review and systems theory-based reflections

  • Frank, Hermann
  • Lueger, Manfred
  • Nosé, Lavinia
  • Suchy, Daniela
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    Familiness is one of the central concepts of family business research. Nevertheless there has been little research explicitly dedicated to familiness. The literature analyzed reveals four research strands that all have very different approaches. Based on systems theory, which interprets social systems (such as families or enterprises) as autopoietically closed meaning systems, consisting of communication and decisions, familiness is discussed. Familiness is the specific result of the structural coupling of family and enterprise, which can bring forth a particular identity as a family business that has grown historically and incorporates different content relations such as particular abilities to innovate. Familiness shows both manifest and latent characteristics and thus requires specific methods of diagnosis. Objective hermeneutics fulfils these requirements. A case-based research strategy seems to be a suitable approach for developing typologies of familiness.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Family Business Strategy.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 119-130

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:fambus:v:1:y:2010:i:3:p:119-130
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    1. Sharma, Pramodita & Hoy, Frank & Astrachan, Joseph H. & Koiranen, Matti, 2007. "The practice-driven evolution of family business education," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(10), pages 1012-1021, October.
    2. Zacharakis, Andrew L. & Shepherd, Dean A. & Coombs, Joseph E., 2003. "The development of venture-capital-backed internet companies: An ecosystem perspective," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 217-231, March.
    3. Alessandro Minichilli & Guido Corbetta & Ian C. MacMillan, 2010. "Top Management Teams in Family-Controlled Companies: 'Familiness', 'Faultlines', and Their Impact on Financial Performance," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 205-222, 03.
    4. Chrisman, James J. & Chua, Jess H. & Litz, Reginald, 2003. "A unified systems perspective of family firm performance: an extension and integration," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 467-472, July.
    5. Schulze, William S. & Lubatkin, Michael H. & Dino, Richard N., 2003. "Toward a theory of agency and altruism in family firms," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 473-490, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Zellweger, Thomas M. & Eddleston, Kimberly A. & Kellermanns, Franz W., 2010. "Exploring the concept of familiness: Introducing family firm identity," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 54-63, March.
    8. Habbershon, Timothy G. & Williams, Mary & MacMillan, Ian C., 2003. "A unified systems perspective of family firm performance," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 451-465, July.
    9. Jean-Luc Arregle & Michael A. Hitt & David G. Sirmon & Philippe Very, 2007. "The Development of Organizational Social Capital: Attributes of Family Firms," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 73-95, 01.
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