The Social Psychology of Family Shareholder Dynamics


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful contributions of Harvard University professors Ellen Langer, Francie Ostrower, Herminia lbarra and Deborah Spear, and Ph.D. candidate David Ager.


Family shareholder dynamics can dramatically influence a family business, however, this has received little attention in the family business literature. To expand our understanding of family shareholder behavior, we have introduced several concepts from social psychology that help explain why family shareholders behave as they do: group cohesiveness, conformance, diffusion of responsibility, deindividuation, and social power. We have commented on the application of each theory for family companies and their consultants and have suggested directions for future research on this topic.