Socioemotional Wealth Across the Family Firm Life Cycle: A Commentary on “Family Business Survival and the Role of Boards”


  • Isabelle Le Breton-Miller,

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    • Isabelle Le Breton-Miller is Chair Associate Professor at HEC Montreal, Montréal, Québec, Canada, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • Danny Miller

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    • Danny Miller is Research Professor at HEC Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada and Chair in Strategy and Family Enterprise at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

  • The authors would like to thank Louise Scholes, Pramodita Sharma, Nick Wilson, and Mike Wright for their helpful comments. They also acknowledge support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Please send correspondence to: Isabelle Le Breton-Miller, tel.: 514-340-7315; e-mail: and to Danny Miller at


The differences among family firms can be as telling as their overall distinctiveness from other forms of enterprise. In order to advance and condition the arguments of Wilson, Wright, and Scholes, we employ a typology of family firm evolutionary development to illustrate how changes in patterns of family involvement in the business can influence several socioemotional wealth priorities and how these in turn can shape the board composition required to enhance firm survival. We conclude by arguing how public listing and environmental competitive circumstances can condition these relationships.