To read this content please select one of the options below:

The workplace social performance of family firms: a configurational approach

Georges Samara (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
María Jose Parada (Strategy and General Management Department, Universitat Ramon Llull – ESADE, Barcelona, Spain)
Ramzi Fathallah (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada and Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 5 May 2022

Issue publication date: 25 January 2023




The purpose of this study is to explore the drivers for proactive workplace social performance in family firms through a configurational approach. Comparative research on family versus non-family firms and workplace social performance has produced mixed results. Consequently, several calls have been made to account for family business heterogeneity to understand better how family involvement in the business affects the workplace social performance. The authors respond to these calls by exploring the governance antecedents that can catalyze family firms’ workplace social performance.


Using qualitative comparative analysis, the authors analyze 131 family firms from the STEP survey data.


The authors find two governance configurations that lead to better family business workplace social performance. The first configuration is the combination of 100% family ownership, high family involvement in management and a mix of outside directors and family members on the board. The second configuration is the combination of less than 100% family ownership and low family involvement in management.


The study builds on and extends the nascent work suggesting the integration of agency and stewardship theories. The authors show that these two theoretical approaches are able to not only coexist, but that they can also be complementary in helping to understand the unique workplace social behaviors of family firms.



Samara, G., Parada, M.J. and Fathallah, R. (2023), "The workplace social performance of family firms: a configurational approach", Management Research Review, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 268-291.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles