Governance, Social Identity, and Entrepreneurial Orientation in Closely Held Public Companies


Danny Miller, tel.: 1-514-340-6501; e-mail:, and to Isabelle Le Breton-Miller at


Based on notions from the identity theory, this study argues that in public firms in which ownership is concentrated, owner-chief executive officer (CEO) identities will influence entrepreneurial orientation (EO), and EO will relate to superior performance. Specifically, lone founder owners and CEOs will embrace entrepreneurial identities: their firms will exhibit high levels of EO and outperform. Post-founder family owners and CEOs, given their ties to family in the organization, will assume identities as family nurturers, thereby limiting EO and performance. Family firm founders will exhibit blended identities and demonstrate intermediate levels of EO and performance. This analysis of Fortune 1000 firms finds support for these arguments.