Addressing the theory-practice divide in family business research: The case of shareholder agreements
Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality
The ultimate aim of family business research is the production of new actionable knowledge, that is rigorous, empirically verified recommendations that fit family business needs and benefit their business practice. Oftentimes, however, research efforts fall short in meeting this goal, leaving family business owners and managers with limited guidance other than anecdotal evidence, best practices, and other forms of “conventional” or “folk” wisdom. We address this theory-practice divide in family business research using the example of shareholder agreements. We present a theoretical analysis of the characteristics, antecedents and effects of shareholder agreements on family business outcomes using the concept of family-practice fit, suggesting that characteristics of the owning family, which are expressions of family heterogeneity, should be aligned with the practices used to manage the family, and its intersection with the business in order to facilitate goal attainment. In focusing on the family as a unit of analysis, our conceptualization follows the calls for a more nuanced understanding of the family behind the firm, providing a foundation upon which future research on shareholder agreements and other widespread family business practices can build.
Journal of Family Business Strategy
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