A Stakeholder Perspective on Family Firm Performance


Thomas M. Zellweger, University of St. Gallen and Babson College, Dufourstrasse 40a, 9000 St. Gallen; tel: +41 71 224 7100; thomas.zellweger@unisg.ch.

Robert S. Nason, Babson College, Institute for Family Enterprising, Babson Park (MA); tel: +1 781 239 4332; rnason@babson.edu.


Through the lens of stakeholder theory, this article deepens our understanding of financial and nonfinancial performance outcomes in family firms across multiple stakeholder categories, including the family level of analysis. Based on this foundation, we develop a typology of performance relationships between performance outcomes: overlapping, causal, synergistic, and substitutional. We argue that these relationships, when used between constructive (positive) performance outcomes, are able to increase stakeholder satisfaction, which in turn increases organizational effectiveness. Through this analysis, we extend the common one-dimensional and cause-effect understanding of performance in family firms and move toward a comprehensive stakeholder performance perspective, which provides insights for increasing organizational effectiveness of family firms.