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Governance of Family Firms, Hasselt University i.c.w. Motmans & Partners and Maastricht University

Family firms play a vital role in the Flemish and world economy. It is estimated that more than 20.000 family businesses in Flanders are currently struggling with the question of whether they should appoint a family or a nonfamily member as CEO. When a qualified family member is at hand, this option is usually pursued. When this is not the case, hiring a professional nonfamily CEO should be carefully considered. To date, research on the effects of hiring a nonfamily CEO is very limited. Moreover, prior research conclusions offer mixed results as to whether which type of CEO generates the best business performance. Traditional agency theory considers nonfamily CEOs to be detrimental for firm performance as these cases involve very significant agency costs due to the separation of ownership and control. On the other hand, recent evidence suggests that nonfamily CEOs perform better than family CEOs as the previous would be more qualified in terms of education and experience. Given the large economic importance and mixed prior research conclusions, the aim of this project is to examine the conditions under which a nonfamily CEO will lead to firm success, i.e., how and why do nonfamily CEOs lead to firm success? This research question will be approached with a mixed method research design of combining qualitative and quantitative methods. This research project has three specific objectives which are the main contributions to the current literature. First, this project aims to reconcile the mixed research conclusions by including the personality of the CEO as a moderating variable in the relationship between CEO type and firm performance. Second, this project adds to our knowledge about what it takes for a nonfamily CEO to lead to firm success by examining the relationship building process between the nonfamily CEO and the owner, which is currently not well understood. Third, building on the trust literature, this project aims to develop a conceptual model that identifies different phases in the relationship between the owner and the nonfamily CEO and describes the formation and evolution of trust throughout these different phases.


Hasselt University (in cooperation with Motmans & Partners, and Maastricht University), Research Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Firms (RCEF), Nonfamily CEOs in private family firms

Agoralaan Gebouw D, Campus Diepenbeek, 3590 Diepenbeek

+ 32 (0)11 26 86 13

Wim Voordeckersl: wim.voordeckers@uhasselt.be
Frank Lambrechts: frank.lambrechts@uhasselt.be
Rüveyda Kelleci: ruveyda.kelleci@uhasselt.be


 



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