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Socioemotional Wealth and Human Resource Management (HRM) in Family-Controlled Firms

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management

ISBN: 978-0-85724-553-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-554-0

Publication date: 12 July 2011


This chapter takes a socioemotional wealth (SEW) perspective to explain the adoption of human resource (HR) practices in family-controlled firms. Previous studies on human resource management (HRM) in family firms have focused only on a small range of HR practices and have rarely utilized strong conceptual frameworks. As a result, these studies have overlooked important factors that contribute to the distinctiveness of HRM in these organizations. Based on ample evidence that shows family businesses' preference for non-economically motivated objectives collectively labeled as SEW, we propose that the presence of SEW influences HR practices in family firms.

Consequently, we reexamine existing empirical evidence of the determinants of HRM in family-controlled firms under the SEW approach. We also reinterpret existing theoretical models of family-controlled firms and their implications for HRM under the SEW umbrella. Our final goal is to establish an integrated framework through a set of sound propositions on HRM in family businesses. By integrating the literature, we aim to fill theoretical gaps in our understanding of the determinants of HR practices in the family business context and direct future research in this area.


Cruz, C., Firfiray, S. and Gomez-Mejia, L.R. (2011), "Socioemotional Wealth and Human Resource Management (HRM) in Family-Controlled Firms", Joshi, A., Liao, H. and Martocchio, J.J. (Ed.) Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 159-217.



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