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Dispersion of family ownership and the performance of small-to-medium size private family firms

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  • De Massis, Alfredo
  • Kotlar, Josip
  • Campopiano, Giovanna
  • Cassia, Lucio

Abstract

In this study we investigate how the dispersion of family ownership among family members affects the performance of small-to-medium-size family firms. Based on agency theory and prior research on family firms, we develop arguments pointing to the existence of a U-shaped relationship between the degree of family ownership dispersion and firm performance. We also consider the involvement of family members in top management as a moderating factor of this relationship. The empirical analyses conducted on 494 small-to-medium size private family firms in Italy support our hypotheses and offer further evidence about curvilinear relationships between family ownership and family involvement in management, and performance. Overall, our study represents a theoretical synthesis and extension of the effects of family involvement on the performance of small-to-medium size private firms. It adds empirical evidence to this stream of research, offers new insights into the sources of heterogeneity among the population of family firms, and paves the way for future investigations on other organizational outcomes, especially firm growth, in family firms.

Suggested Citation

  • De Massis, Alfredo & Kotlar, Josip & Campopiano, Giovanna & Cassia, Lucio, 2013. "Dispersion of family ownership and the performance of small-to-medium size private family firms," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 166-175.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:fambus:v:4:y:2013:i:3:p:166-175
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfbs.2013.05.001
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    1. Ozili, Peterson K & Uadiale, Olayinka, 2017. "Ownership Concentration and Bank Profitability," MPRA Paper 102571, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    3. Miralles-Marcelo, José Luis & Miralles-Quirós, Maria del Mar & Lisboa, Inês, 2014. "The impact of family control on firm performance: Evidence from Portugal and Spain," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 156-168.
    4. González-Cruz, Tomás F. & Cruz-Ros, Sonia, 2016. "When does family involvement produce superior performance in SME family business?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 1452-1457.
    5. Vandekerkhof, Pieter & Steijvers, Tensie & Hendriks, Walter & Voordeckers, Wim, 2019. "The effect of nonfamily managers on decision-making quality in family firm TMTs: The role of intra-TMT power asymmetries," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 1-1.
    6. Sund, Lars-Göran & Melin, Leif & Haag, Kajsa, 2015. "Intergenerational ownership succession," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 166-177.
    7. Alfredo De Massis & Josip Kotlar & Pietro Mazzola & Tommaso Minola & Salvatore Sciascia, 2018. "Conflicting Selves: Family Owners' Multiple Goals and Self-Control Agency Problems in Private Firms," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 42(3), pages 362-389, May.
    8. Barros, Ismael & Hernangómez, Juan & Martin-Cruz, Natalia, 2016. "A theoretical model of strategic management of family firms. A dynamic capabilities approach," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 149-159.
    9. Schierstedt, Bennet & Henn, Marisa & Lutz, Eva, 2020. "Diversified acquisitions in family firms: Restricted vs. extended family priorities," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2).
    10. Emilio Bellini & Giuseppe Piroli & Luca Pennacchio, 2019. "Collaborative know-how and trust in university–industry collaborations: empirical evidence from ICT firms," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 44(6), pages 1939-1963, December.
    11. López-Delgado, P. & Diéguez-Soto, J., 2015. "Lone founders, types of private family businesses and firm performance," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 73-85.
    12. De Massis, Alfredo & Kotlar, Josip, 2014. "The case study method in family business research: Guidelines for qualitative scholarship," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29.
    13. Alayo, Mikel & Maseda, Amaia & Iturralde, Txomin & Arzubiaga, Unai, 2019. "Internationalization and entrepreneurial orientation of family SMEs: The influence of the family character," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 48-59.
    14. Blanco-Mazagatos, Virginia & de Quevedo-Puente, Esther & Delgado-García, Juan Bautista, 2016. "How agency conflict between family managers and family owners affects performance in wholly family-owned firms: A generational perspective," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 167-177.
    15. Rosalia Santulli & Mariateresa Torchia & Andrea Calabrò & Carmen Gallucci, 2019. "Family ownership concentration and firm internationalization: integrating principal-principal and socioemotional wealth perspectives," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 220-248, June.
    16. Silvia Bacci & Alessandro Cirillo & Donata Mussolino & Simone Terzani, 2018. "The influence of family ownership dispersion on debt level in privately held firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 557-576, October.

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