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Yijie Min, Yanlong Zhang, and Sun Hyun Park

Family firms can either be “born” or “made.” Although previous studies suggest that most of the family firms in the US context are “born,” family firms can be “made” by the founder’s decision to invite family members to the management. We conceptualize this process of family firm emergence as familization, during which lone-founders’ family influence increases as more family members are appointed to director and/or executive positions. Transition from lone-founder-control to family-control is often accompanied by significant changes in governance structure, strategic decisions, and firm performance. This work documents the pervasiveness and heterogeneity of the familization process and proposes an analytical framework covering four research areas associated with the phenomenon: the antecedents that motivate founders to choose the familization path, the familization process involving internal and external firm constituents, the consequences of familization decision, and the potential moderators of the familization impact. To better understand these theoretical perspectives, an explorative empirical investigation is conducted based on a sample of Chinese-listed firms that experienced familization. Familization cases in other Asian emerging economies were also discussed in comparison with the family firms in Western economies.