Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transitional Economies

(To submit your paper to the EURAM 2017 Conference - Deadline 10th January 2017)

Fang, H. (Missouri University of Science and Technology)

Vershinina, N. (University of Birmingham, UK)

Wale-Oshinowo, B (University of Lagos, Nigeria)

Welter, F. (Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Universityof Siegen, Germany

Chua, J. (University of Calgary, Canada - Lancaster University, UK Zhejiang University, China)

Ramachandran, K. (Indian School of Business, India)

Discua Cruz, A. (Lancaster University, UK)

Basco, R. (American University of Sharjah - Sheikh Saoud binKhalidbinKhalidAl-Qassimi ChairinFamilyBusiness,UAE)

Family business as a field of research has grown considerably over the last two decades and its legitimacy has been bolstered by the interdisciplinary connection with management, entrepreneurship, economics, psychology, and sociology (Perez Rodriguez & Basco, 2011). Recent development in the literature starts to recognize that family firms are heterogeneous in terms of behavior and performance (Chua, Chrisman, Steier, & Rau, 2012). This heterogeneity has been investigated in terms of many intra-organizational sources such as age, size, founder or successor CEO, family generation in control, founder gender, family or non-family CEO, family ownership dispersion, intention for intra-family succession, among many others (e.g., Basco & Calabrò, 2016; Fang, Memili, Van de Graaff Randolph & Chrisman, 2016; Nordqvist, Sharma, & Chirico, 2014). In comparison, extra-organizational sources have received significantly less attention (Gupta, Levenburg, Moore, Motwani, & Schwarz, 2008).

One critical extra-organizational source is the historical, institutional, spatial, and social context in which family firms exist and operate, as it could influence the genesis, development, and continuity of family firms (Stough, Welter, Block, Wennberg, & Basco, 2015; Wright, Chrisman, Chua, & Steier, 2014). Among the many variations in contexts, a very important one is that between developed economies and transitional, developing, or emerging economies (Welter, 2011). Thus, examining how the multidimensionality of the particular context in developing economies and the intersectionality of the contextual elements affect family firm behaviour and performance will contextualizing our theories of the family firm (Whetten, 2009) and lead to a deeper and more generalizable understanding of the family firm as a globally ubiquitous form of organization.

Indeed, the extant literature’s focus on economically developed countries, limits our understanding of the phenomenon because the institutional and cultural contexts where family firms are founded, developed, and operated differ substantially around the world. Therefore, the generalizability of extant theories may be questioned. While recent studies have attempted to address this issue by examining cultural and geographical factors as one driving forces of family firm heterogeneity (Discua Cruz, Hamilton, & Jack, 2012; Gupta & Levenburg, 2010; Basco, 2015; Memili, Fang, Chrisman, & De Massis, 2015), we still know little about family businesses in developing, emerging, and transitional economies.

Therefore, we propose to develop a special track on Topics about Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transition Economies (the definition of such economies to be based on that used by the International Monetary Fund). Through studies about how the specific economic and institutional environments of such economies influence family firm behavior and performance, the special track will help expand our understanding of family business through the researchers’ findings about the applicability of extant theories and empirical evidence from developed economies to family firms in transitional, developing, and emerging economies. In addition, this special track can help us develop newly grounded theories to achieve a better understanding of the contextual effecton family business behaviors and performances.

The main goal of the Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transition Economies track is to encourage the presentation of studies about family firms in such unique contexts related, but not limited, to:

  Traditional strategy research topics (such as internationalization, corporate entrepreneurship, cooperation, competitive dynamics, economic and non-economic performance, among others) but contextualized for family business in emerging, developing, and transition economies.

Traditional family business research topics (such as succession, corporate governance, inter-generational entrepreneurship, management practices among other) but contextualized in emerging, developing and transition economies.

Cultural aspects that frame family and family business values, norms, and ethics in emerging, developing, and transition economies.

Historical, sociological and anthropological perspectives to study family businesses, family business groups and family elites in emerging, developing, and transition economies.

The role of government policies in the start-up, development, or death of family businesses in emerging, developing, and transition economies.

Strategies adopted by family businesses to counteract/compromise/comply with institutional isomorphism in emerging, developing and transition economies.

The economic and social impact of family businesses in emerging, developing, and transition economies.

Comparative studies considering differences and similarities between family businesses in developed and developing countries or among developing countries. 

 We expect the track “Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transition Economies” to contribute to family business research in different ways. First, replication studies in new contexts would enable the generalization and potential expansion of current knowledge and research findings. Second, by emphasizing the importance of environment, studies would contextualize the relationship between family and firm and enrich our understanding of the family business phenomenon. The aim is to shed some light on how and why some theories would be more dominant than others in specific contexts.

A workshop about “contextualizing family firms” will take place in EURAM 2017. The objectives of this workshop will focus on awareness, theories, methods and existing works that highlight the relevance of context in the study of family firms. 

Rodrigo Basco, Ph.D.
The American University of Sharjah, UAE
Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business

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