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Title: Analyzing organizational performance of family and non-family businesses using the HPO framework
Authors: Sultan, Suhail
Waal, Andre de
Goedegebuure, Robert
Keywords: Family-owned business enterprises - Palestine;Organizational effectiveness - Evaluation - Palestine
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2017
Publisher: Emerald
Abstract: Purpose – Many businesses in the world are family-owned. A family-owned business differs from other types of businesses in several ways, because it is composed of both a family and a business. A recurring question in management research has been: which type of business performs better, the family-owned or the non-family owned? An alternative question which in this respect can also be asked, in the light of the high performance organization (HPO) theory which has become popular these past years, is: which type of business is more likely to become and stay high performing, the family-owned or the non-family owned? To try to answer these questions, many studies have been done in which the performance of family firms was compared with firms that have no family ties, but these studies gave mixed results and conflicting opinions. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – It seems evident that a new research approach is needed. A way forward is to use the HPO concept which looks at the factors important for an organization to become an HPO. Thus, the research question which this study attempts to answer is: are there differences in performance between family and non-family businesses, and if so, can these be traced back to differences in the way these businesses deal with the factors of high performance? The research used the HPO questionnaire and interviews to collect data at Palestine family and non-family owned businesses. Findings – The research shows that Palestine non-family businesses significantly outperform family-owned businesses. Family businesses thus seem “a living paradox.” Balancing family interest and business interest often requires a compromise between family and business goals. It seems that Palestinian family businesses focus more on family interest by putting the goal of survival and “keeping the business in the family” above (short-term) financial goals. Family businesses might also feel more that the company’s money is the family money, and as a result their investment and expenses strategies are more conservative thus missing possible economic investment opportunities. Research limitations/implications – The study results add to the current debate in the literature about which type of business performs better, and at the same time they add knowledge because if there are differences these might be explained by the factors of high performance. In this vein, the study results also contribute to the literature on high performance, as the HPO framework has not been used before for this type of comparative research. Originality/value – The study results have practical value because they yield knowledge about the ways to organize a business so it can achieve high organizational results which is of great value to managers attempting to make their organizations perform better.
Description: An article published in : Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 7 No. 3, 2017, pp. 242-255
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