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Boards of Directors in Family Businesses: A Literature Review and Research Agenda

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Abstract

This paper offers a review of the theoretical and empirical literature addressing boards of directors within the unique organizational setting of family businesses. By reviewing and structuring past research, this paper aims to improve the understanding of how family involvement in firms affects the roles and behaviours of boards. The review of the literature is structured according to the family business board's two primary tasks as an internal administrative body, namely the exercise of control and the provision of advice. For both board tasks, theoretical perspectives and the match between theory and empirical findings will be discussed. The review concludes by offering an integrative discussion of the relevant theories and by highlighting the need for multi-theoretic, process and contextualized approaches in future research on boards of directors in family businesses.

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