Family firms account for around 75 per cent of all business enterprises in the UK, but there is a lack of research on these businesses. The family firms literature recognises that there are differences between family and non‐family businesses; differences that can be explained by conflicts between a juxtaposition of family values and business values. Consequently, family firms tend to have different approaches to ownership and control, the composition of boards, employment practices, strategy formulation and succession management. This paper reports on the demographic characteristics, ownership configurations, boardroom arrangements, managerial and succession practices of a random selection of 1,065 family firms located in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Results reveal that the firms are well‐established, privately owned, small businesses in which the lead family retains almost all shares and dominates the board of directors. These firms give some preferential treatment to family members in employment and managerial matters but business objectives are not ignored. In keeping with previous research, succession matters are not regularly discussed and much more needs to be done to allow for a smooth transition from one family generation to another. The authors conclude by arguing that there is an urgent need for policy makers to address the problems and needs of small family firms and to develop frameworks and practices for assisting these businesses.
Cromie, S., Adams, J., Dunn, B. and Reid, R. (1999), "Family firms in Scotland and Northern Ireland: an empirical investigation", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 253-266. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000006677Download as .RIS
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