Family Members’ Salience in Family Business: An Identity-Based Stakeholder Approach

Journal of Business Ethics 183 (1):1-21 (2021)
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Abstract

The paper builds on the stakeholder salience framework and applies a social identity approach to explain family firm dynamics and how these could impact on family firm governance and ethics. In particular, we consider the family as the main stakeholder for family firms and we refer to the recent approaches to stakeholder theory based on ‘names-and-faces’ and on social identity to focus on family members at the individual and organizational level. Family businesses offer an opportunity to study stakeholder salience in settings with multiple logics. Our paper acknowledges how the attributes of legitimacy, power and status, for family business members, can derive from three different institutional settings (family, business and local community) and how these attributes are assigned and gained by family members on the basis of the stakes they put (or could put) on the business. From the analysis of these dynamics specific ethical considerations emerge.

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