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Family Business and Local Development in Iberoamerica

Special issue call for papers from Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

Guest Editors
Luis Gomez-Mejia
Arizona State University, USA

Claudio G. Muller
University of Chile

Ana Cristina Gonzalez
Grand Valley State University, USA

Rodrigo Basco
Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business, American University of Sharjah,UAE

Aims & Scope
Family business is the most common form of organization in Iberoamerica , where it is estimated that regional economic activities are mainly dependent on family-run firms (Basco, 2015). According to current statistics for Iberomerican countries, family businesses contribute to about 60 percent of the aggregate GNP and employ between 70 and 90 percent of the labor force (IFERA, 2003; The Economist, 2014; Trarawat Magazine, 2014). Most of the research on family business has focused on Spain  with some exceptions (there are only two special issues dedicated to family business in Iberoamerica [Larraza-Kintana, Cruz, & Belausteguigoitia Rius, 2013; Parada, Müller, & Gimeno, 2016]), but the family business phenomenon has hardly been investigated or conxtualized (Parada et al., 2016) in Iberoamerica. This research gap has significant theorethical and practical consequences for the family business field.

The family business field has gained noteworthy external legitimacy (Chrisman, Chua, & Steier, 2003; Pérez Rodríguez & Basco, 2011) since its inception, but an overall theory of family business is far from being realized, and several questions remain open and unexplored. This new theory for family firms “must explain and predict not only the interaction between family and business systems at the individual and family firm levels but also the interaction between family firms and the environment at the aggregate level” (Basco, 2015, p. 260).

This definition entails two approaches. The first is the firm-familiness approach, which focuses on the effect family has on firm behavior and performance. This effect has been studied in relation to several different factors/dimensions, including familiness (Habbershon & Williams, 1999), socioemotional wealth (Gómez-Mejia, Haynes, Nunez-Nickel, Jacobson, & Moyano-Fuentes, 2007), and transgenerational family firms (Habbershon, Nordqvist, & Zellweger, 2010). Even though the research developed in this field has primarily focused on the firm-familiness approach, the main gap in this approach is the lack of research contextualizing the phenomenon of family business (Gupta, Levenburg, Moore, Motwani, & Schwarz, 2008), specifically in Iberomerica (with excellent exceptions, such as Discua Cruz, Howorth, & Hamilton, 2013). The nuances associated with organizational, institutional, social, temporal, and spatial forces across contexts require special attention (Basco, 2017; Vassolo, De Castro, & Gomez-Mejia, 2011; Welter, 2011) since these forces shape individual expectations, business family goals, and family firm behavior and performance.

The second approach is the regional-familiness approach, which focuses on the family firm’s effect on regional development. Regional-familiness posits that family firms’ embeddedness in social, economic, and productive structures may affect the geographical dynamics (e.g., factors of production, regional processes, and dimensions of proximity) responsible for social and economic development (Basco, 2015). This line of research has been less developed, and only few studies have attempted to capture the aggregate effect of family firms on regional development (Stough, Welter, Block, Wennberg, & Basco, 2015). Regional-familiness research in the context of Iberoamerica is even rarer.

In order to address the aforementioned research gaps, we encourage more systematic research contextualizing the firm-familiness and regional-familiness approaches in Iberoamerica. Developing comparative studies may help clarify how and to what extent family businesses adapt and respond to their contexts and contribute to regional and local development. 

We invite submissions to a special issue of Cross Cultural & Strategic Management titled “Family Business and Local Development in Iberoamerica.” The purpose of this special issue is to publish work that will significantly enhance our theoretical and empirical understanding of family business in Iberoamerica.

Within the scope of this special issue, potential themes for individual submissions can include, but are not limited to, the following:

•    Cultural aspects that frame family and family business values, norms, and ethics.
•    Traditional family business research topics (e.g., succession, management, corporate governance, ownership, etc.) contextualized in Iberoamerica.
•    Economic and social impact of family firms.
•    Origin and evolution of family firms.
•    Historical, sociological, and anthropological perspectives for studying family firms.
•    Cooperation and/or competitive dynamics in family firms.
•    Role of government policies in the start-up, development, and/or death of family firms.
•    Applicability of mainstream theories for understanding family business behavior.
•    Strategies adopted by family firms and business families to counteract/compromise/obey institutional isomorphism.
•    Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation.
•    Family firm (economic and non-economic) performance, including family business goals. 
•    Internationalization of family firms. 
•    Family businesses, family business groups, and family elites.
•    The impact of context on shaping family business management and governance practices.

We invite empirical, conceptual, methodological, and literature review papers for submission. Submissions must be cross-country or comparative in nature (i.e., two or more countries and at least one of them should be a country from Iberoamerica). The expected year of publication for this special issue is 2019.

Additional Information
This special issue is a collaboration with EIASM, IFERA, and FERC conferences (see below). The acceptance and presentation of manuscripts to these conferences does not guarantee acceptance in this special issue. Authors should submit their manuscript following the manuscript requirements outlined on the journal’s website (click here). Manuscripts would undergo a double-blind review process by the CCSM guest editorial team for inclusion in the special issue.
•    European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM). Workshop on Family Management Research, which will be held in Larnaca, (Cyprus), May 2018: Entrepreneurial Families Across Generations
•    Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC), which will be hold in Mexico in June 2018: Family Traditions & Culture: Values and legacy in Entrepreneurial Families.

Guest editors will be available at the aforementioned conferences. The authors are encouraged, but not required, to submit their manuscripts to any of these conferences to get feedback prior to final submission.

Timeline and Submission instructions
Submissions are due by October 1, 2018. All manuscripts will undergo a double-blind review process.  Submissions should be between 6,000-9,000 words, including references, figures and tables, and follow the manuscript requirement outlined on the journal’s website (click here). For questions regarding this special issue, please contact any of the guest editors: Claudio G. Muller (cmuller@fen.uchile.cl), or Ana Cristina Gonzalez (gonzaana@gvsu.edu) or Rodrigo Basco (bascorodrigo@gmail.com).

Footnote: We use the term Iberoamerica in its wider sense by including those countries in the Americas where the Spanish and Portuguese languages are predominant as well as Spain and Portugal.


Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional development-A theoretical model of regional familiness. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(4), 259–271.
Basco, R. (2017). Epilogue: Multiple embeddedness contexts for entrepreneurship. In M. Ramírez-Pasillas, E. Brundin, & M. Markowska (Eds.), Contextualizing Entrepreneurship in developing and emerging economies (pp. 329–336). London: Edward Edgar.
Chrisman, J. J., Chua, J. H., & Steier, L. P. (2003). An introduction to theories of family business. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(4), 441–448.
Discua Cruz, A., Howorth, C., & Hamilton, E. (2013). Intrafamily Entrepreneurship: The Formation and Membership of Family Entrepreneurial Teams. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(1), 17–46.
Gómez-Mejia, L. R., Haynes, K. T., Nunez-Nickel, M., Jacobson, K. J. L., & Moyano-Fuentes, J. (2007). Socioemotional wealth and business risks in family-controlled firms: Evidence from Spanish olive oil mills. Administrative Science Quarterly, 52(1), 106–137.
Gupta, V., Levenburg, N., Moore, L., Motwani, J., & Schwarz, T. V. (2008). Culturally-sensitive models of family business in Germanic Europe. Hyderabad, India: ICFA University Press.
Habbershon, T. G., Nordqvist, M., & Zellweger, T. M. (2010). Transgenerational Entrepreneurship. In M. Nordqvist & T. M. Zellweger (Eds.), Transgenerational Entrepreneurship. Exploring growth and performance in family firms across generations (pp. 1–38). UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Habbershon, T. G., & Williams, M. L. (1999). A Resource-Based Framework for Assessing the Strategic Advantages of Family Firms. Family Business Review, 12(1), 1–25.
IFERA. (2003). Family Businesses Dominate: International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA). Family Business Review, 16(4), 235–240.
Larraza‐Kintana, M., Cruz, C., & Belausteguigoitia Rius, I. (2013). Family firms in Iberoamerican countries. Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, 11(1), 4–12.
Parada, M. J., Müller, C., & Gimeno, A. (2016). Family firms in Ibero-America: an introduction. Academia Revista Latinoamericana de Administración, 29(3), 219–230.
Perez Rodriguez, M. J., & Basco, R. (2011). The cognitive legitimacy of the family business field. Family Business Review, 24(4).
Stough, R., Welter, F., Block, J., Wennberg, K., & Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional science: “Bridging the gap.” Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(4), 208–218.
The Economist. (2014). Business in the blood. November 1st.
Trarawat Magazine. (2014). The economic impact of family businesses. Tharawat Magazine, Vol. 22-Mayo.
Vassolo, R. S., De Castro, J. O., & Gomez-Mejia, L. R. (2011). Managing in Latin America: Common Issues and a Research Agenda. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(4), 22–36.
Welter, F. (2011). Contextualizing Entrepreneurship—Conceptual Challenges and Ways Forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165–184.