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Even having similar characteristics regarding profitability, leverage, target market and clients, or form of management, two family firms are completely different.


This fact means that results from one family business cannot be generalized to another, as these would not be equivalent.. Therefore, we start from a heterogeneous group of companies. Mainly, the analyzed characteristics to classify a business as a familiar one are ownership, control, and the desire of business continuity along time Vallejo Martos, Considering that we start from a diverse group of businesses, the challenge is even greater when once assumed that we are working with a heterogeneous group of family businesses, we move to the Socioemotional Wealth that they present.

In this regard, it can be said that the SEW is an intangible element, which is not visible, but nevertheless, it is perfectly perceptible in the corporate environment and culture.. In any case, in this section, we point out which are the major challenges of the SEW approach that could be summarized in broad strokes into two: on the one hand, the different emotional endowment of each type of business and, on the other hand, the quantification of this emotional component.. Regarding different emotional endowment, as it is said by Zellweger and Dehlen , different family firms have different emotional endowments, and thereby, different SEW.

Inside the Family Firm: The Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance

This can greatly hinder the creation of a standard model to analyze the emotional endowment of these businesses. In addition, individualized firm studies would have to be made because the results obtained for a business could not be extrapolated to another.. Therefore, the SEW issue in a firm could be analyzed as a whole, by observing the business culture and by surveying the CEO. The other big challenge that the SEW concept presents is its quantification.

As it was said above, it is an abstract concept, and so its measurement is complicated..

Different proxies have been used to quantify SEW. The most common one has been the ownership stake in the hands of family members Berrone et al. So, these authors postulate that a major ownership would imply a major SEW. In this vein, Berrone et al. They distinguish between different SEW dimensions and proposed a set of items based on previous research to measure them.

They add that the proposed items need to be tested and pass psychometric procedures. Thereby, the research of Berrone et al.

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But what about financial quantification? It seems that it has to be assessed as an intangible asset, but nothing has been done up till now..

Published and Accepted Papers

Summarizing, researchers have some challenges to improve this approach: different SEW for different businesses and its quantification. So, future research is needed to resolve these issues.. The main goal pursued with this article was a major comprehension of the SEW approach.. We have gathered the different definitions of this term.

Moreover, we have suggested a more comprehensive definition of SEW, trying to conceptualize it in the most appropriate way by compiling the attributes cited in previous research.. We also discuss two aspects that constitute the main challenges of this approach.. The SEW is an exclusive endowment of family firms Berrone et al. But, emotional aspects of nonfamily firms cannot be ignored. There are people working in nonfamily firms, and people have feelings and emotions. So, there would be an emotional endowment in nonfamily firms. Otherwise, the simplification that we have made about positive and negative SEW valences Kellermanns et al.

We mean that researchers should focus on how different situations affect the socioemotional endowment of family businesses. In this way, family firms could learn how to face these situations and how to cope with them.. Furthermore, we find out the need for distinguishing between ownership and management in order to analyze SEW variations along time. In this vein, it could be interesting to develop an empirical study to analyze the effects on SEW on different combinations of control and management..

Regarding the challenges that the SEW approach presents, we cite two as follows: the different SEW endowment of family firms and its quantification. The solutions for these challenges are not easy, and they will require further research. So, for analyzing these issues, it is necessary to make individualized studies of family firms. And namely, for the SEW quantification, we think that the proposal of Berrone et al.

Corporate Governance

The SEW approach is relatively new and is still in its infancy, so numerous contributions have to be made to improve it. Nevertheless, by analyzing the existing literature that deals with this concept, it could be said that research is advancing in this field. As we said before, diverse knowledge areas have been related with the SEW approach: business management and business valuation, diversification, and performance, among others. So it is true that SEW has important implications and consequences for family businesses.

Thereby, SEW can be considered as the most important paradigm in the family business field Berrone et al. The aim of this paper was to delve deep into the SEW approach to achieve major knowledge of it. We also want to encourage more research regarding the controversial questions mentioned. So, the next step should be analyze empirically the polemical issues we propose.. The authors declare no conflict of interests.. ISSN: X. See more Follow us:. Discontinued publication For more information click here. Previous article Next article. Issue 1.

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Corresponding author. This item has received. Under a Creative Commons license. Article information. Show more Show less. Finally, we point out the principal challenges it poses for researchers. Socioemotional Wealth. JEL codes:. G10, G14, M14, M Palabras clave:. Riqueza socioemocional. Due to the existing divergences regarding the SEW approach, it seems interesting and necessary to delve deep into it to establish solid theoretical foundations.

Moreover, some of the ideas proposed could be studied as an empirical perspective in future research. Finally, we highlight the principal challenges of this approach and highlight possible research areas related to SEW.

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  6. Instead, we mention that there are positive emotions, situations, and relationships that lead to a major SEW, and negative ones that lead to a lower SEW. Finally, we make a distinction between ownership and management to explain SEW variations along time. Finally, the last section comprises the discussion and conclusions.


    To solve this issue, we have reviewed the main articles that provide a definition of this concept in the following paragraphs. This definition is not only considered the seminal one but also the most important conceptualization of SEW that has ever been made, since this article has been used as reference by most of the subsequent studies.

    They identify SEW in family firms in a variety of related forms, such as perpetuating family name, values, control, and employment; need for belonging, affect, and intimacy; preservation of family firm social capital; ability to exercise authority; preservation of the family dynasty; continuous with the family lifestyle; and, the fulfillment of family obligations based on blood ties rather than on strict criteria of competence and the opportunity to be altruistic to family members.

    Family Firm Innovation

    So, according to these authors, SEW could be defined in the same way. Moreover, they make reference to the SEW definition given by Astrachan and Jaskiewicz and by Zellweger and Astrachan , who define it as that part of a business value as perceived by the owner that is unexplained by financial considerations.

    They finish their paper with a set of questions for future research. So, Table 1 summarizes the main definitions that have been made so far of the SEW concept, according to previous articles. Table 1.