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This article aims at identifying the characteristics of the family business as a differentiated field within management. For that aim, we use author co-citation analysis (ACA) to identify different research trends within the field, studying all the papers published in the Family Business Review from its foundation in 1988 through to the December 2005 issue. Results show that despite the literature being fragmented and showing a lack of consensus, we are facing, in Kuhn's words, a development of the research frontier by enlarging the number of approaches used for understanding the family business.