Values and virtues in family firms

Dawson Alexandra, Maria Jose Parada Balderrama, Georges Samara

Producció científica: Contribució a una conferènciaContribució


Family businesses have been consistently highlighted as examples of commitment with their environment and communities, outperforming non-family businesses in various domains, and to generally have a long-term stakeholder value orientation. One key element that outstands in the distinctiveness and sustainability of family firms are values, as family values shape the way family firms behave, develop their identity, and determine the way these firms will behave towards their environment. Despite the great importance attributed to values in the family business, few studies have focused on the importance these family values have and how these values influence the way family firms behave over time. A central question is then how these values "are characterized in family firms and how they shape organizational practices". In this study we approach values through the lens of virtues, which are "acquired human qualities, the excellences of character, which enable a person to achieve the good life", and allow individuals to cooperate with others to achieve their collective goals. Specifically, we draw on Aristotelian virtues and explore four main virtues: Prudence (practical wisdom), courage, temperance (self-control, moderation), and justice (what is just), to understand how they work in practice. In order to perform our study we rely on qualitative research. We chose purposefully two Spanish family firms, one from the 1850's and the second one from the 1950's. They were chosen for their richness in showcasing these four virtues along their history. We rely on narratives, as they represent a form of interpretive approach through which we can "capture the specific complexity and dynamics unique to family businesses" and they are important rhetorical devices. Findings suggest that family businesses that have survived heavy crises (like civil wars, economic crisis, business crisis) have been able to overcome these critical moments in part due to their strong virtues - both at individual and at family level - where the four pillars have been present for example through the achievement of collective goals and adherence to a stated mission, as well as through behaviors that have been aimed at improving and benefiting the community. This study responds to the calls for exploring further the role of values given the great importance adhered to them for family business survival. It also responds to calls about bringing other disciplines to the field, in this case ethics, to better understand this phenomenon. This study contributes to the field of family business by shedding light on how values and virtues are essential elements for making the family business thrive, particularly in times of crisis.
Idioma originalAnglès
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 26 de març 2018
Esdeveniment7th Conference on Rhetoric and Management Research -
Durada: 26 de març 201828 de març 2018


Conferència7th Conference on Rhetoric and Management Research


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