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Essays on Family Firms and Firm Growth Barriers
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5457-1915
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the implications of family ownership and perceived growth barriers for firm decision-making and performance. The first article examines the inclusion of family business in economics doctoral programs in the United States and Sweden, as well as the views of professors and textbook authors and research on family business. It is found that family business is not included in the examined curricula. Furthermore, professors and authors do not publish research on family business and generally do not see a need to incorporate it into economic theory. The article concludes by discussing the causes of this omission, as well as strategies to overcome them in order to further our understanding of economic action. The second article presents a novel strategy for identifying domiciled family firms using total population data. By applying this strategy to Swedish data, family firms are found to contribute to one-third of Swedish employment and gross domestic product, and a significant share of Sweden’s largest firms are family-owned. In general, family firms are found to be smaller than their non-family equivalents, although they are more profitable. Meanwhile, differences between family firms and nonfamily firms are found to diminish with firm size. The third article examines whether family firms have a comparative employment growth advantage over nonfamily firms in regions with relatively low population density. As a group, family firms are found to be the main source of job creation in rural regions, largely as a result of their large numbers. Nevertheless, the average family firm is found to grow more slowly than the average non-family firm. Meanwhile, in line with the study’s conjecture, this difference is found to decrease across the urban-rural context, i.e., across metropolitan, urban and rural regions. The fourth paper examines the representation of women in top management teams1 in family firms and non-family firms. Moreover, the share of women in a firm’s top management team is found to be positively associated with the additional appointment of female managers. Lastly, kinship bonds between the owning families and prospective managers are found to be positively associated with the appointment of women on top management teams. The fifth paper aims to capture the relationship between perceived growth barriers and firm size, which is achieved by developing a novel data-driven strategy for identifying firm size groups. It is found that smaller firms typically face accessibility constraints on equity financing, whereas larger firms generally face barriers related to competition and accessibility to qualified staff. These results are benchmarked against those using prevailing strategies for measuring firm size, whereby it is suggested that there may be a need for methodological rethinking in the field regarding its treatment of firm size.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University , 2020. , p. 48
Series
Örebro Studies in Economics, ISSN 1651-8896 ; 43
Keywords [en]
entrepreneurship, family firm, family ownership, firm growth, institutions, perceived growth barriers
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-80222ISBN: 978-91-7529-325-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-80222DiVA, id: diva2:1397125
Public defence
2020-04-03, Örebro universitet, Hörsalen, Musikhögskolan, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-02-27 Created: 2020-02-27 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Family business: A missing link in economics?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family business: A missing link in economics?
2020 (English)In: The Journal of Family Business Strategy, ISSN 1877-8585, E-ISSN 1877-8593Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Family firms account for a substantial share of economic activity and deviate from standard economic assumptions on firmbehavior. However, little is known about how these firms are represented in economic theory. This article examines the inclusion of family business in the curricula of economics doctoral programs in the United States and Sweden as well as professors’ and textbook authors’ views and research on family business. Textbooks, articles and course offerings used in doctoral programs are considered to indicate the state of established knowledge in the field. The findings show that family business is not included in the examined curricula. Furthermore, professors and authors do not publish research on family business and generally do not see a need to incorporate it into economic theory. This article concludes that family business is excluded from ‘core’ economic theory due to a lack of paradigmatic pluralism, axiomatic incompatibility, path dependency, institutional bias and data constraints. Lastly, it is speculated that integration of family business theory into standard economic modeling is likely to occur outside prestigious universities due to path dependency in research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020
Keywords
entrepreneurship, family business, family control, family firm, economics, teaching
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-79162 (URN)10.1016/j.jfbs.2019.100306 (DOI)
Available from: 2020-01-14 Created: 2020-01-14 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved
2. The Characteristics of Family Firms: Exploiting Information on Ownership, Kinship and Governance Using Total Population Data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Characteristics of Family Firms: Exploiting Information on Ownership, Kinship and Governance Using Total Population Data
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Small Business Economics, ISSN 0921-898X, E-ISSN 1573-0913, Vol. 51, no 3, p. 539-556Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Family firms are often considered characteristically different from non-family firms. However, our understanding of family firms suffers from an inability to identify them in total population data; information is rarely available regarding owners, their kinship, and their involvement in firm governance. We present a method for identifying domiciled family firms using register data; this method offers greater accuracy than previous methods. We apply this method to Swedish data concerning firm ownership, governance, and kinship from 2004 to 2010. We find that the family firm is a significant organizational form, contributing over one third of all employment and gross domestic product (GDP). Family firms are common in most industries and range in size. Furthermore, we find that, compared to private non-family firms, family firms have fewer total assets, employment, and sales and carry higher solidity, although family firms are more profitable. These differences diminish with firm size. We conclude that the term “family firm” includes a large variety of firms, and we call for increased attention to their heterogeneity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2018
Keywords
Entrepreneur, Family firms, Employment, GDP, Register data
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-61172 (URN)10.1007/s11187-017-9947-6 (DOI)000443439100003 ()2-s2.0-85030325971 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Familjeföretagandets betydelse
Funder
The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius FoundationSwedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
Available from: 2017-09-28 Created: 2017-09-28 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved
3. Does Regional Context Matter for Family Firm Employment Growth?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does Regional Context Matter for Family Firm Employment Growth?
2018 (English)In: The Journal of Family Business Strategy, ISSN 1877-8585, E-ISSN 1877-8593, Vol. 9, no 4, p. 293-310Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the proposition that family firms have comparative employment growth advantages in relation to non-family firms in regions with relatively low population density. This premise is tested across metropolitan, urban and rural regions using total population data on domestically and privately owned, single-plant, non-listed limited liability firms in Sweden. A panel of more than 89,000 firms is followed over a seven-year period from 2004 to 2010. The average family firm is found to grow more slowly than the average non-family firm across the urban-rural context. However, in line with the study’s conjecture, these differences are found to decrease across metropolitan, urban and rural regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
Keywords
family firms, employment, regional growth, entrepreneur, social capital
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69045 (URN)10.1016/j.jfbs.2018.08.004 (DOI)000454963900006 ()2-s2.0-85057023468 (Scopus ID)
Conference
The 2016 annual Swedish Graduate Program in Economics (SWEGPEC) workshop, the International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA) 2017 Annual Conference
Funder
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
Available from: 2018-09-25 Created: 2018-09-25 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved
4. Female Top Management in Family Firms and Non-family Firms: Evidence from Total Population Data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Female Top Management in Family Firms and Non-family Firms: Evidence from Total Population Data
Show others...
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, ISSN 1476-1297, E-ISSN 1741-8054, Vol. 35, no 3, p. 303-326Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We exploit information on ownership, management and kinship to study the representation of women in top management teams in Swedish family and non-family firms among domiciled limited liability firms over the years 2004 to 2010. The share of female top managers is analysed across listed and non-listed firms as well as across industries. We then estimate the likelihood that a woman is elected into the top management team in family and non-family firms using a probit regression model where we control for firm- and individual-level characteristics, including the gender distribution of the firm and kinship relations to existing board members and firm owners. We find that non-listed family firms are more likely to appoint female top managers, whereas we find no differences among listed firms. Moreover, we find that the gender composition and kinship structures of firms influence the appointment of female top managers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
InderScience Publishers, 2018
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-57683 (URN)10.1504/IJESB.2018.095903 (DOI)2-s2.0-85055855794 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Tillväxthinder i små och medelstora företag
Funder
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional GrowthThe Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation
Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved
5. Firm Size and Growth Barriers: A Data-driven Approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Firm Size and Growth Barriers: A Data-driven Approach
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-80350 (URN)
Available from: 2020-03-03 Created: 2020-03-03 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved

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