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The Shareholder Role in the Family Business: Conflict of Interests and Objectives Between Nonemployed Shareholders and Top Management Team

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This article focuses on the role of the family business shareholder. Based on Agency Theory, it examines the elements that influence the conflict of interests and objectives between nonemployed shareholders and the top management team and its impact on commitment to the family firm. Data were empirically obtained from a field study of 156 shareholders and executives of 10 Spanish family firms. Combining quantitative and qualitative data, investigation results show that the degree of commitment to the family business is negatively correlated with the number of family members on the board of directors. Nevertheless, the most robust and statistically significant correlation (positive) was found between the number of external board members and the commitment level of the nonemployed shareholders. Regarding the mechanisms and processes implemented, results depended on the attention that the family business paid to the institutional overlap of the three subsystems: ownership, family, and business.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of business administration and the Banco Comercial Family Business Chair at IEEM, University of Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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