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Towards a theory of nonfamily employees' organizational identification and attachment in family firms

Esra Memili (Bryan School of Business & Economics, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)
Dianne H.B. Welsh (Bryan School of Business & Economics, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 21 September 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Since non‐family employees form a large portion of employees in many family firms and they play an important role in the transgenerational survival of those firms, the purpose of this paper is to explore how family influence factors affect non‐family employees' organizational identification and then organizational attachment, which can consequently influence their turnover intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

In this conceptual paper, the paper attempts to answer two important research questions: What are the family firm‐specific determinants of nonfamily employees' organizational identification in family firms? How does nonfamily employees' organizational identification affect their tenure in family firms? Thereby, the paper develops a conceptual model linking family influence dimensions (i.e. power, experience, and culture), nonfamily employees' organizational identification, organizational attachment, and turnover intentions within the domain of the stewardship theory.

Findings

The model presented in this paper can help scholars and family business managers better understand the idiosyncratic family influence dimensions that can affect nonfamily employees' perceptions and intentions associated with their tenure in family firms. If family firms can limit the negative effects of family influence factors, make the best use of the positive effects, and integrate key nonfamily employees into the family firm through helping them satisfy their higher‐order needs, they can uninterruptedly move forward toward achieving long‐term competitive advantages and superior performance.

Research limitations/implications

Aside from the antecedents of nonfamily employees' organizational identification that are pointed out in this paper, there may be other determinants that are beyond the scope of this paper. The governance structure and strategic orientations are some of the possibilities constituting avenues for future research.

Social implications

Family firms with great employee care cannot only increase employees' loyalty to their firms, but also help them develop work‐life balance.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the only attempts to use social identity theory to explain non‐family employees' organizational identification and attachment in family firms that can affect their turnover intentions. Not only does this add to our knowledge of family firm human resources management and provide new directions for future research, but it also suggests the usefulness of social identity theory in family business research.

Keywords

Citation

Memili, E. and Welsh, D.H.B. (2012), "Towards a theory of nonfamily employees' organizational identification and attachment in family firms", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 255-269. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468771311325167

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited