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Structural aspects of corporate governance and family firm performance: a systematic review

Edem M. Azila-Gbettor (Open Universiteit, Heerlen, The Netherlands) (Department of Management Sciences, Ho Technical University, Ho, Ghana)
Ben Q. Honyenuga (Department of Management Sciences, Ho Technical University, Ho, Ghana)
Marta M. Berent-Braun (Center for Entrepreneurship, Governance and Stewardship, Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, The Netherlands)
Ad Kil (Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, The Netherlands)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 10 August 2018

Issue publication date: 18 September 2018




The purpose of this paper is to systematically review and examine extant knowledge on corporate governance structures (CGS) and performance relation within family firm and set the agenda for future research.


The study analyses the content of 159 empirical articles retrieved mainly from Google Scholar and published between 2000 and 2016 in 61 highly ranked journals across different disciplines.


The review reveals fixation on quantitative approach and its associated techniques in examining CGS and performance nexus. The results from the review demonstrate heterogeneous relation between measures of CGS and performance. Suggestions for further studies include: measurement of non-economic performance of the family firm and incorporation of moderators and mediators from the organizations’ environment through the adoption of multilevel research.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this review include: first, issues relating to key/search terms and journals used for the study; this may not be exhaustive and hence likely to lead to omission of key publications. Second, scholarly attention in terms of empirical studies on family governance, including family council, family assembly and family constitution, has been scarce (Suess, 2014; Klein, 2008; Witt, 2008); hence family governance is outside the scope of this review. In sum, future work may explore other keywords and publications not used in this review and consider review of family governance.


The authors offer a multidisciplinary conceptual framework that synthesizes and integrates the existing literature on CGS across different disciplines within family firms. This provides researchers across different disciplines a common platform for interdisciplinary discourse.



Azila-Gbettor, E.M., Honyenuga, B.Q., Berent-Braun, M.M. and Kil, A. (2018), "Structural aspects of corporate governance and family firm performance: a systematic review", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 306-330.



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