[Journal:] International Journal of Financial Studies [ISSN:] 2227-7072 [Volume:] 2 [Year:] 2014 [Issue:] 3 [Pages:] 280-314
This review article displays several attempts to define family businesses as well as a systematization approach to get new insights about the relationship between family business definitions and their application under different conditions such as legal framework, culture or regional understanding of family. Potential explanations for the ambiguity of what is meant by family firms are revealed by reviewing 267 journal articles. A consensus about the object of investigation would result in a deeper understanding of family firms' uniqueness, might lead to more reliable comparative studies as well as interdisciplinary work (e.g., finance and family firms) and enables a quicker consolidation of family business research, especially in contrast to research on small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship. Therefore, the present review contributes to the development of family business research by providing an initial attempt to comprehensively systematized existing family firm definitions which could be used by researchers in family business research.
family business systematic literature review cluster approach to systemize family business definitions reasons for heterogeneity in family business definitions implications for business management