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The Role of Non Economic Utilities in Family Firms

Special Issue from Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management

Guest Editors: Cristina Cruz, Martin Larraza-Kintana, Imanol Belausteguigoitia Rius


Deadline for submissions: 30th September 2011

Family controlled firms dominate the corporate landscape around the world. Although figures vary across countries estimates agree on that they employ half of the world's workforce and generate well over half the world's GDP. Further, family firms can be found in all industries and among all size categories. Firms like Hilton Hotels, Ford Motor Co., Michelin or Du Pont, just to cite a few, are still controlled by their founding families This economic relevance has being echoed in the academic arena, in which the issues faced by family firms and the study of the specific characteristics of these firms have attracted the interest of management scholars of all eras. This interest has become even more salient in the last 10 years. During this “golden decade” we have witnessed a significant rise in the interest of the academia in the study of family firms. Such interest has been reflected in an increase in the number of papers and special issues devoted to family firms as well as in the publication of articles focusing on family firms in the major academic outlets in management.

A look at the theoretical models and the empirical evidence obtained to date lead us to conclude the key role played by non-economic utilities in the family business context. For example concerns about social legitimacy, firm control, or being part of the community in which the family firm and its members are located, have a say in determining how family firms design executive compensation packages, think about diversification strategies, pursue risky alternatives or respond to institutional pressures. Gomez-Mejia and his colleagues coined the term socioemotional wealth (SEW) , to refer to all those relevant non-economic aspects that influence the decision making processes of family firms.

In spite of its relevance we know very little about the antecedents and consequences of these non economic utilities for family firms. A better knowledge about its sources, how it evolves and how it changes with firm actions and decision will help us to reach a more fine grained knowledge about family firms, and hence to progress on family firm research.

Consequently we ask for novel research on the role non economic utilities on family firms and welcome all papers that may shed some light on the issues just mentioned above.

Although not specifically limited to it we encourage pieces that try to enlighten us on:

 - Sources of non economic utilities´ formation in the family business context.
-Influence of national/regional institutional factors on the development of non economic utilities in family firms
- Evolution of non economic utilities in family firms
-Interactions between economic and non economic utilities and their impact on firm management
- Mechanisms designed to manage the tension between economic and non economic utilities in family firms
- The impact of non economic utilities on firm performance

• Articles can be empirical, theoretical or measurement oriented.
• All types of empirical methods -quantitative, qualitative or combinations- are acceptable.
• All manuscripts submitted to this special issue must follow the author guidelines of MRJIAM that can be found at

Please submit your papers to:

Cristina Cruz: [email protected]
Martin Larraza-Kintana: [email protected]
Imanol Belausteguigoitia Rius: [email protected]

Or submitted like regular papers to: [email protected]

About the Guest Editors

Cristina Cruz: is associate Professor of entrepreneurial management and family business at IE Business School, Madrid, Spain (e-mail: [email protected]). She also holds the Bancaja Chair of Young Entrepreneurship at IE University , Her research focuses on corporate governance, family firms' management, and entrepreneurship in the context of family-controlled firms. Her work has been published in journals such as The Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly and Journal of Business Venturing. She holds a Ph. D. in economics and management from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, having also completed an executive development program in family business management at IE Business School.

Martin Larraza-Kintana: is an associate professor of organization and strategic management at Universidad Pública de Navarra. His research has always reflected his interest in people’s decision making behavior, particularly within organizations. Rooted in this primary interest, his most recent research touches such issues as entrepreneurship and employees' responses to human resource management policies, in addition to the influence of non-economic utilities in the context of family-controlled firms. Recent work not cited in the paper has been published in outlets such as the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management, the Journal of Industrial Relations, and the Journal of World Business. He holds a Ph. D. in economics and management from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Imanol Belausteguigoitia Rius: is is the Director of the Family Business Center at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). His courses cover many different topics of family business from succession and governance to gender issues. He is additionally a Family Facilitator at Harvard Business School’s executive education program Families in Business: From Generation to Generation. Since 1999, he has been a regular contributor in the Mexican radio broadcast Reflections on Family Firms. He is the author of Empresas Familiares: su dinámica, equilibrio y consolidación (2nd ed., Best Seller), published by McGraw-Hill. He spent one year as Visiting Scholar at the Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College, where he taught and researched in the fields of entrepreneurship and family business and collaborated with the Institute for Latin American Business. Dr. Belausteguigoitia received his Ph.D. in Management from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and his thesis Influence of Organizational Climate on Commitment and Effort in Members of Family Firms won a national award (ANFECA).