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Personalism, Particularism, and the Competitive Behaviors and Advantages of Family Firms: An Introduction


James J. Chrisman, tel.: (662) 615-4373; e-mail: at Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762-9581.


Fundamental assumptions of any theory of the family firm are that family firms will behave in ways that differ from nonfamily firms, and that the behaviors of family firms will also exhibit substantial variations. This special issue includes a set of articles and commentaries that study such differences. This introduction synthesizes these articles using the concepts of personalism and particularism. We argue that the set of articles contained in this special issue contributes to the literature by explaining how the ability and willingness of family firms to behave in an idiosyncratic fashion leads to advantages and disadvantages that distinguish between family and nonfamily firms and between different types of family firms.

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