• Are family firms good employers?

      Neckebrouck, Jeroen; Schulze, William; Zellweyer, Thomas (Academy of Management Journal, 2018)
      Family firms employ about 60 percent of the global workforce. While it is widely assumed that they are good employers, data about their conduct is mixed. In this study, we extend stewardship and agency theories to test competing propositions about the impact of family on employment practices using data from 14,961 private Belgian firms over a 19-year period. Higher investments, lower dividend payout, and higher risk tolerance indicate that family firms are better financial stewards of their companies than nonfamily firms. However, family firms are worse organizational stewards than nonfamily firms: They offer lower compensation, invest less in employee training, and exhibit higher voluntary turnover and lower labor productivity. Further, and contrary to earlier research, we find that financial practices in private family firms do not change over time, and that the deleterious influence of family on employment practices rises with both firm age and with heightened family involvement. Together, our findings suggest that a more nuanced understanding of stewardship and agency theory is needed to understand the impact of family on the governance of private firms.
    • Family or founder? The role of social identity in explaining the use of microloans

      Vermeire, Jacob; Lepoutre, Jan; Meuleman, Miguel (Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017)
      Poverty is one of the greatest challenges of our times and microfinance organizations try to help reduce poverty by providing microloans for enterprise development. However, recent studies have demonstrated that the positive impact of microloans on the lives of the poor is generally very limited. In this light, understanding why and how individuals use microloans is an important component of making microlending more effective. In this empirical study, we employ an inductive multiple-case study design to develop an understanding of microloan use among 7 female firm founders in rural South Africa. We found patterned differences in the salience of the firm founders' social identity, the construction of an option set of possible uses for the microloan, and finally the dominant loan utilisation. Our inductive model provides an important extension to the microfinance literature and the emerging stream of theorizing around founder social identities.
    • Private Equity: zinvol voor familiebedrijven?

      Neckebrouck, Jeroen (CxO Magazine, 2017)
    • The tetralemma of the business family: A systemic approach to business-family dilemmas in research and practice

      Kleve, Heiko; Roth, Steffen; Kollner, Tobias; Wetzel, Ralf (Journal of Organizational Change Management, 2020)
      Purpose This conceptual article aims to contribute to the design of a theory of family-influenced firms by a framework for the management of business-family dilemmas. Design/methodology/approach It combines systemic principles with the tetralemma, a tool from ancient Indian logic that families and businesses can use to manage and reframe dilemmas without dissolving the dilemmatic tensions or blurring their boundaries. Findings In applying the tetralemma, the article offers a range of suggestions, such as observing business and family as two discrete, yet codependent, social systems and envisioning conceptual and methodological imports from codependency research and therapy into family business research and practice. Originality/value The article proposes a framework for the selective and flexible navigation of family-business tensions without dissolving them or blurring their boundaries.
    • When two worlds collide: Employement decisions in private-equity backed family firms

      Neckebrouck, Jeroen; Manigart, Sophie; Meuleman, Miguel (2016)
    • Why some are more equal: Family firm heterogeneity and the effect on management’s attention to CSR

      Fehre, Kerstin; Weber, Florian (Business Ethics - A European Review, 2019)
      Research at the family firm–Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) nexus lacks agreement about whether family firms are more or less socially responsible than their non‐family counterparts, which leads discussion relating to the bright and dark side of socioemotional wealth (SEW). We add to this ongoing debate in two different ways. First, we build on family firm heterogeneity and argue for a gray side to SEW, located between the bright and dark sides that is dependent upon the kind of family firm ownership. Second, we assume that prior research on a diverse set of CSR behaviors may, to some extent, explain the contradicting results; thus, we propose going back a step and focusing on management’s attention to CSR as an important antecedent of CSR behavior. By analyzing the letters to the shareholders of German HDAX firms from 2003 to 2012, this study finds that family ownership positively affects management’s attention to CSR, mainly driven by founders and family foundations. The research adds to our understanding of the family firm–CSR nexus by scrutinizing the role SEW plays in management’s attention to CSR when it comes to family firm heterogeneity.