New article on Value Creation in Family Firms

Why are family firms more (or less) able to be successful over the long term as compared to other types of businesses? This is clearly one of the core questions of research on family firm research. While much research has been devoted to answering this question, our knowledge is still much fragmented. Thus, in this conceptual article, my co-authors and I call for more integrated research on family firms and their (dis-)advantages. We conclude that much research on, for instance, resources of family firms as well as governance structures of family firms has been conducted, but far too few effort has been dedicated to exploring the nexuses of those aspects.

Model of Value Creation
Model of Value Creation


Besides calling for more multi-theoretical theory building, the paper discusses, amongst others, the following topics.

  • “Goal ambidexterity”: We discuss three different types of family firms that are different in terms of their goals: Dreamers that focus on non-financial goals, traders that focus on financial-goals, and professional owners that manage both, financial and non-financial goals. We argue that professional owners (who possess “goal ambidexterity”) will benefit most in the long term.
  • We further discuss strategy formulation in family firms and note how an effectuation approach can be helpful not only for startups as discussed in prior literature, but also for family firms.
  • Moreover, we also discuss the different layers of governance that family firms need to be aware of: firm governance, owner governance, family governance, wealth governance. We highlight existing literature and discuss the interwoven nature of those aspects.
Goal diversity in family firms
Goal diversity in family firms

Link to article: here

Citation of the paper:

N. Kammerlander, P. Sieger, W. Voordeckers, T. Zellweger. 2015. Value Creation in Family Firms: A Model of Fit. Journal of Family Business Strategy 6(2): 63-72. doi:10.1016/j.jfbs.2015.04.001

EIASM Keynote on Deconstructing Boundaries

Some colleagues asked me to share the slides of the keynote I gave yesterday at the 11th EIASM workshop on family firms. Here they are: 2015-EIASM-Keynote-forshare

Application of Porac's work on cognitive communities to the family firm research field
Application of Porac’s work on cognitive communities to the family firm research field

In a nutshell, I made the following points:

  • We should more often apply our own theories (e.g., organizational identity theory, entrepreneurship theory, theory on the cognitive microfoundations of strategy, or theory on organizational ambidexterity) to our own research field – that will help us to better understand what we do, what our “competitive advantage” is and what we might do in future.
  • Boundaries of who we think we are as researchers can substantially limit our contribution and should thus be brought into question frequently.
  • Boundaries of who we think we are also limit how we teach our subject (thanks to the audience for bringing up this point!)
  • Tacit knowledge about “what is possible” is often useful but also holds the danger to really make progress.
  • In particular, the boundaries pushing us to “mono-theoretical studies” limit our understanding of family firms and their value creation (to further read about this topic, see our JFBS article: Link)