Understanding the dynamics of familiness: An asset or a liability?

Research output: Conference paperContribution


This study contends that familiness is dynamic. Therefore, the aim of this research is to explore how familiness changes over time from being an asset to becoming a liability. Many theoretical and empirical studies operationalize, define and extend "familiness" (e.g. Chrisman, et. al, 2003; Craig, et. al., 2008; Habbershon and Williams, 1999; Habbershon, et. al., 2003; Minichilli, et. al., 2010; Pearson, et. al, 2008; Sharma, 2008; Sirmon, et. al., 2008). However, they leave aside the sustainability and dynamics of resources over time, despite the emphasis made on the need for resources to be accumulated, combined, exploited and adapted to generate a competitive advantage (Grant, 1991; Sirmon and Hitt, 2003). There is still a dearth of empirical studies that go beyond the relationship of resource and performance and focus more on the behavioral side of familiness. As Rau (2014) observes in her review about the state of RBV in family businesses, efforts have been mainly done towards theoretically developing the concept of familiness (e.g. Arregle et al., 2007; Pearson et al. 2008), and some empirical studies developed further familiness (e.g. Craig et al., 2008; Danes et al., 2008). Yet empirical validation is still lacking in several steps, hence important gaps are still to be covered (Rau, 2014). Some of the relevant gaps highlighted are: whether family-specific resources are positive (Sharma, 2008); whether familiness can also be detrimental to the performance of the family firm (Sirmon and Hitt, 2003); or whether positive family-specific resources could become negative. (Rau, 2014, p. 322). Our study is motivated by these pending issues in the literature. Particularly given the focus of empirical studies on the "bright side" of family involvement (Minichilli et al., 2010, p.205) showing how these resources in action lead to competitive advantage and thus become an "asset", we extend this topic by framing if familiness is an asset or a liability over time.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2017
Event13th EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research -
Duration: 25 May 201727 May 2017


Conference13th EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research


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