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Familiness on a dead-end street? The evolution of the familiness concept and its suitability for future research on family firms

  • More than 15 years after the introduction of familiness into the literature, the term has evolved into one of the most popular concepts in family firm research. Despite the steadily growing body of studies that build on familiness, recent calls suggest a need to revisit its conceptualization due to a lack of a common understanding that could affect future research endeavours. In our systematic literature review of 25 studies, we find support for this notion and show that the discussion on the concept has reached a dead end. We present a systematization of familiness research that highlights an inconsistent conceptualization, a lack of validation and even a partial hijacking of the term into contexts different from those originally proposed by Habbershon and Williams in 1999. Based on these findings, we present a research agenda aimed at overcoming the current limitations and rejuvenating familiness as a suitable approach to understanding family firm heterogeneity. Keywords: familiness, familiness concept, familiness evolution, familiness definition, literature review, family business, family firms, family firm research, family business research, resources, competitive advantage, resource-based view

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Document Type:Article
Author:Stephan Stubner, Sabina Pielken (née Dienemann)
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Strategic Management and Digital Entrepreneurship
Year of Completion:2017
In: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 9 (2017) 4, DOI 10.1504/IJEV.2017.088640