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Developing and retaining Human Capital in Family Businesses

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Family Business Management

Developing and retaining Human Capital in Family Businesses

Past studies in family business research have demonstrated the significant contribution family enterprises have made to economic, community and country development. It is believed that they constitute 60% to 98% of all firms in different regions of the world (Miller and Le-Breton Miller, 2005). Family businesses predominate in South East Asia (Carney and Gedajlovic, 2002) and some rank among the world’s great companies. In recent years, family business research has grown exponentially because of their economic impact, generation of employment, and contribution to economic development (Colli, 2003; Dawson, 2012; Zahra, 2005) and the results they achieve (Sharma et al., 2007; Stewart and Miner, 2011).

In family enterprises, human capital is also a critical resource that enables differentiation between competitors and the development of sustainable competitive advantage. Many studies using the theoretical lens of resource based-view (Barney, 1991) and the concept of familiness, which represents the unique bundle of resources and capabilities generated from the interaction of the family and business systems (Habbershon and Williams, 1999; Habbershon, Williams and Macmillan, 2003), have found that human capital is the most valuable and difficult to imitate resource, as it is the result of a complex social structure established over time.

However, there is still a research gap in understanding how family businesses acquire, develop and retain human capital given the context and presence of family and non-family members, as well as the influence of the family in the process and system. Family businesses cannot extend and maximise existing strengths without attracting and retaining the best talent in the world (Klein and Bell, 2007). Building successful family-owned businesses take an immense amount of energy and achieving long term growth and inter-generational survival can only be achieved by attracting and retaining exceptional people. Maximizing the acquisition of talent and improving employee engagement and motivation results in enhanced firm performance (Ronn, 2007). A critical issue for family firms is their capacity to attract good family and non-family managers and to build social networks (Seaman, McQuaid and Pearson, 2017). There exist challenges and perhaps, limitations, for family firms because of the dynamics and complexity of broader family agendas (Cunningham, Seaman and McGuire, 2016).

This Special Issue aims to address the above mentioned issues as well as other facets of research namely on training and development of the next generation’s leadership, knowledge, skills and competencies. In addition, performance and remuneration systems, motivation, power and authority, parenting, obedience, groupthink, group cohesion, stewardship and commitment are also areas related to human capital strategies for the family business (Kenyon-Rouvinez and Ward, 2005). Papers presented in the Family Business stream at the International Conference on Human Capital*, will be considered for inclusion in this Special Issue, but it is not a requirement and all papers will be subject to the Journal’s normal reviewing process.

*International Conference on Human Capital
Taylor’s University, Malaysia 28-29 November 2018

Barney, J. (1991) ‘Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage’, Journal of Management, 17(1): 99-129.
Carney, M. and Gedajlovic, E. (2002) ‘The co-evolution of institutional environments and organizational strategies: The rise of family business groups in the ASEAN region’, Organization Studies, 23(1): 1-29.
Colli, A. (2003) The History of Family Business, 1850–2000, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cunningham, J., Seaman, C. and McGuire, D. (2016) ‘Knowledge sharing in small family firms: A leadership perspective’, Journal of Family Business Strategy, 7(1): 24-46.
Dawson, A. (2012) ‘Human capital in family business: focussing on the individual level’, Journal of Business Strategy, 3(1): 3–11.
Habbershon, T. G. and Williams, M. (1999) ‘A Resource-Based Framework for Assessing the Strategic Advantages of Family Firms’, Family Business Review, 12(1): 1-25.
Habbershon, T. G., Williams, M. and MacMillan, I. C. (2003) ‘A Unified Systems Perspective of Family Firm Performance’, Journal of Business Venturing, 18(4): 451-465.
Kenyon-Rovinez, D. and Ward, J. L. (2005) Family Business Key Issues, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Klein, S. B. and F. A. Bell (2007) ‘Non-family executives in family businesses – A literature review’, Electronic Journal of Family Business Studies, 1(1): 19-37.
Miller, D. and Le Breton-Miller, I. (2005) Managing for the Long Run: Lessons in Competitive Advantage from Great Family Businesses, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Ronn, K. (2007) ‘Rethinking talent acquisition’, Business Week Online, No. 3 June.
Seaman, C., McQuaid, R. and Pearson, M. (2017) ‘Social networking in family businesses in a local economy’, Local Economy, 32(5): 451-466.
Sharma, P., Hoy, F., Astrachan, J. H. and Koiranen, M. (2007) ‘The practice driven evolution of family business education’, Journal of Business Research, 60: 1012–1021.
Stewart, A. and Miner, A. S. (2011) ‘The prospects for family business in research universities’, Journal of Family Business Strategy, 2(1): 3–14.
Zahra, S. A. (2005) ‘Entrepreneurial risk taking in family firms’, Family Business Review, 18(1): 23-40.