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Corporate governance in the largest family firms in Latin America

Pedro Vazquez (Faculty of Business, Universidad Austral, Pilar, Argentina) (IAE School of Management and Business, Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Alejandro Carrera (IAE School of Management and Business, Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Magdalena Cornejo (School of Government, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

ISSN: 2059-5794

Article publication date: 30 March 2020

Issue publication date: 30 June 2020




The aim of this study is to explore and understand corporate governance patterns in family firms across Latin America. This is in response to several calls in the academic literature urging for more empirical studies in corporate governance in developing regions.


Following a configurative perspective, a hierarchical cluster analysis is applied to a sample of the 155 largest Latin American family firms.


The authors identify three main corporate governance configurations across Latin American countries. First, the exported governance model resembles many characteristics of Anglo-American and Continental Europe governance patterns of public listed control, having independence from the board of directors, and mainly hiring non-family management. Second, the super-familial governance model describes private ownership where one or multiple families control both the board of directors and the top-management team. Finally, the hybrid governance model is the largest cluster identified in the sample and combines governance characteristics of both of the foregoing configurations. This configuration exhibits ownership structured through public offerings of shares combined with leadership of the board of directors by a family member as well as moderate family influence on the board and management.


This is the first study to investigate corporate governance in the largest listed and privately-owned family firms in Latin America. The article extends the conversation on family firm heterogeneity and contributes to the configurative approach in the family business field by offering a cross-country perspective and identifying meaningful taxonomies that are applicable beyond national boundaries.



The authors thank Universidad Austral and the Chair IAE-PwC of Corporate Governance for their financial support in conducting this research. This article forms part of a special section “Family Business and Local Development in Iberoamerica”, guest edited by Luis Gomez-Mejia, Claudio G. Muller, Ana Cristina Gonzalez, Rodrigo Basco.


Vazquez, P., Carrera, A. and Cornejo, M. (2020), "Corporate governance in the largest family firms in Latin America", Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 137-163.



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