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Trust, social capital and competitive advantages of family businesses

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

Guest Editors: Yong Wang, Panikkos Poutziouris and Chris Graves

This special issue aims to publish high impact research focusing on family business entrepreneurship, centring on issues of trust, social capital and family business competitive advantages. Family businesses are one of the economic engines in many nations. They
are credited for nurturing entrepreneurial talent across generations, a sense of loyalty to business success, long-term strategic commitment, and corporate independence. Evidence from the literature shows family businesses, as a group, outperform non-family businesses (Hoffman et al., 2006). Factors contributing to their superior performance include low intra-firm and inter-firm transaction costs (Cruz et al., 2010), trustworthiness of the business because of family involvement (Orth and Green, 2009), and employees’ loyalty and sustainable commitment (Tagiuri and Davis, 1996). Nevertheless, though remarkable effort and time have been dedicated to family business research, there are gaps in knowledge of how family businesses tackle intense market competition, how they cope with deficient resources, and more importantly how family businesses build up competitive advantages and what the foundations of these advantages are.

Family businesses differ from other firms due to the integrated family and business systems (Sirmon and Hitt, 2003). Habbershon and Williams (1999) coined the concept of ‘‘familiness’’, defined as ‘‘. . . the idiosyncratic firm level bundle of resources and capabilities resulting from the systems interactions’’ (Habbershon et al., 2003, p. 451). Hoffman et al. (2006) in their paper on sustainable competitive advantage proffered the notion of family capital, which is associated with ‘‘familiness’’. They argued that the fundamental characteristic that distinguishes family businesses from non-family businesses is the existence of family capital and this capital shapes the governance and operations in family businesses. Pearson et al. (2008) examined the theme of ‘‘familiness’’. They believed the social capital theory is particularly relevant to studies on ‘‘familiness’’ since social capital reflects ‘‘the character of social relationships within the organisation, realised through members’ levels of collective goal orientation and shared trust’’ (Leana and Van Buren, 1999, p. 540).

Trust, as the critical dimension of social capital, has not been well investigated in the family business research domain, though increased attention has been paid recently to this notion. Eddleston et al. (2010) indicated that family businesses often benefit from superior interpersonal trust between family members due to blood relationship, intensive interactions, shared values and common understanding of the family. Pearson and Marler (2010) observed that family business leaders, who are able to create high-quality exchange relationships characterised by trust, respect and mutual obligation with both family and non-family members, can create a reciprocal stewardship culture.

This special issue attempts to focus on trust, social capital and family business competitive advantages. Topics of how interpersonal, intraorganisational and inter-organisational trust is established, how trust contributes to the business’s competitive advantages, and what the antecedents of trust are, are of particular interest. The issue intends to encourage researchers in the field to bring forward new empirical and theoretical studies, share both quantitative and qualitative findings with the community, and advance the boundaries of family business knowledge.

Subject coverage

Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
. Trust and social capital
. Trust and governance of family business (agency theory,
stewardship theory)
. Trust and strategic management (resource dependency theory)
. Interpersonal trust in family businesses
. Intra-organisational trust in family businesses
. Inter-organisational trust between family businesses
. Trust and competitive advantages
. The ‘‘dark side’’ of trust
. Social capital across generations
. Social capital in the context of relationship management/cooperative

Deadlines for submission

1-2 Page Abstract: 7 March 2014
Confirmation of interest: 14 March 2014
Submission of manuscripts: 27 June 2014
Notification to authors: 29 August 2014
Resubmission of manuscripts: 24 October 2014
Notification to authors: 9 January 2015
Final versions due: 6 February 2015

Guest Editors’ contact details, including e-mails

Dr Yong Wang, Wolverhampton Business School, University of Wolverhampton. E-mail: [email protected]

Professor Panikkos Poutziouris, Business Management School, UClan Cyprus, University of Central Lancashire. E-mail: [email protected]

Dr Chris Graves, University of Adelaide Business School. E-mail: [email protected]


Cruz, C., Gomez-Mejia, L.R. and Becerra, M. (2010), ‘‘Perceptions of benevolence and the design of agency contracts: CEO-TMT
relationships in family firms’’, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 53, pp. 69-89.

Eddleston, K.A. Chrisman, J.J., Steier, L.P. and Chua, J.H. (2010), ‘‘Governance and trust in family firms: an introduction’’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 34, pp. 1043-1055.

Habbershon, T.G. and Williams, M.L. (1999), ‘‘A resource-based framework for assessing the strategic advantages of family firms’’,
Family Business Review, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 1-25.

Habbershon, T.G., Williams, M.L. and McMillan, I.C. (2003), ‘‘A unified systems perspective of family firm performance’’, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 18, pp. 451-465.

Hoffman, J., Hoelscher, M. and Sorenson, R. (2006). ‘‘Achieving sustained competitive advantage: a family capital theory’’, Family
Business Review, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 135-145.

Leana, C.R. and Van Buren, H.J. (1999), ‘‘Organisational social capital and employment practices’’, Academy ofManagement Review, Vol. 24, pp. 538-555.

Orth, U.R. and Green, M.T. (2009), ‘‘Consumer loyalty to family versus non-family businesses: the role of store image, trust and satisfaction’’, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Service, Vol. 16, pp. 248-259.

Pearson, A.W., Carr, J.C. and Shaw, J.C. (2008), ‘‘Toward a theory of familiness: a social capital perspective’’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 32, pp. 949-969.

Pearson, A.W. and Marler, L.E. (2010), ‘‘A leadership perspective of reciprocal stewardship in family firms’’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 34, pp. 1117-1123.

Sirmon, D.G. and Hitt, M.A. (2003), ‘‘Managing resources: linking unique resources, management and wealth creation in family firms’’,
Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 339-358.

Tagiuri, R. and Davis, J.A. (1996), ‘‘Bivalent attributes of the family firm’’, Family Business Review, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 199-208.