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The family’s effect on knowledge sharing in family firms

Isabel C. Botero (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Ascensión Barroso Martínez (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Galván Sanguino (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Juliana Binhote (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 20 August 2021

Issue publication date: 22 February 2022

565

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to understand how the family system plays a role in knowledge sharing (KS) within family firms. The authors argue that the family’s influence can occur through two routes. An external route in which the family affects the culture of the organization and through an internal route in which family leadership within the firm affects the practices and behaviors within the business.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this project came from the survey responses of 93 Spanish family firms.

Findings

The findings expand previous understanding about KS in family firms by outlining the two routes through which the family can have positive effect on KS within family firms. Results show that family system characteristics (i.e. next-generation commitment, family trust and intergenerational relationships) affect KS through their impact on the participative culture of a family firm. Additionally, when a family has been in control of the business for more generations, they place higher importance on family legacy and continuity, which is likely to strengthen the relationship between participative culture and KS in family firms.

Originality/value

Given the important role that the family system plays within the family business, this paper explored how family characteristics can influence KS in family firms. The authors contribute to the literature by highlighting the importance that the owning family can have in creating an environment that can facilitate KS in family firms.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Dr Unai Arzubiaga and our reviewers for their constructive comments and for helping in the finalization of this project.

Citation

Botero, I.C., Barroso Martínez, A., Sanguino, G. and Binhote, J. (2021), "The family’s effect on knowledge sharing in family firms", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 459-481. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-08-2020-0653

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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