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Ability and Willingness as Sufficiency Conditions for Family-Oriented Particularistic Behavior: Implications for Theory and Empirical Studies

Authors

  • Alfredo De Massis,

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    • Address correspondence to: Alfredo De Massis, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED), Lancaster University Management School, room number C65, Lancaster, LA1 4YX, UK. E-mail: a.demassis@lancaster.ac.uk.

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    • Alfredo De Massis is Reader in Family Business & Director of the Centre for Family Business at Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Lancaster University Management School, and professor at the University of Bergamo, where he founded and co-led the Center for Young & Family Enterprise.
  • Josip Kotlar,

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    • Josip Kotlar is Senior Research Associate at Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Lancaster University Management School.
  • Jess H. Chua,

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    • Jess H. Chua is Professor of Finance and Family Business at Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Chair Professor of Family Business at the Lancaster University Management School, and Fotile Chair Professor of Family Business at School of Management, Zhejiang University.
  • James J. Chrisman

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    • James J. Chrisman is Professor of Management at Department of Management and Information Systems, Mississippi State University, and Senior Research Fellow at Centre of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, University of Alberta.

Abstract

Distinguishing sufficient conditions from necessary conditions is crucial in both theoretical and empirical studies. We propose that the sufficiency condition for family involvement to produce family-oriented particularistic behavior in a firm requires the presence of both ability and willingness. We demonstrate how the omission of this sufficiency condition in commonly used theoretical models employed to explain how family involvement affects firm behavior can result in theoretical limitations and empirical indeterminacy. Finally, we discuss how considering both ability and willingness can lead to better theory, more generalizable empirical findings, and help explain heterogeneity among firms with family involvement.

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