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When family firm corporate governance fails: the case of El Corte Inglés

María Sacristán-Navarro (Department of Business Economics (Administration, Management and Organization), Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain)
Laura Cabeza-García (University of León, León, Spain)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 11 November 2019

Issue publication date: 17 April 2020




The purpose of this paper is to describe internal corporate governance mechanisms in family firms as well as conflicts that may arise among shareholders and family members in the absence of specific corporate governance mechanisms.


After presenting theoretical concepts, the authors study the case of Spanish family firm El Corte Inglés to understand some of the corporate governance difficulties the company has experienced over the past few years.


This case illustrates how corporate governance problems can arise because the right mechanisms have not been used, leading to conflicts among family members, valuation problems and power struggles.

Practical implications

There is a need for family firms to employ suitable corporate governance mechanisms as governance complexity increases.


This study aims to contribute to the understanding of corporate governance problems among family members and their possible solutions.



This paper has been supported by Project ECO2015-67434-R, ECO2015-69058-R and ECO2015-63880-R (MINECO/FEDER) of Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain), and the Project RTI2018-097447-B-I00 of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Spain).


Sacristán-Navarro, M. and Cabeza-García, L. (2020), "When family firm corporate governance fails: the case of El Corte Inglés", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 97-115.



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