Ideals-Based Accountability and Reputation in Select Family Firms

  • Isabelle Le Breton-MillerEmail author
  • Danny Miller
Original Paper


We develop a model of ideals-based accountability (IBA) which we have witnessed at work in several long-thriving family businesses. The owners and managers of these firms eschew individualism and materiality in the pursuit of ethical ideals such as supporting democracy and bettering the human condition. Although accountability is to these ideals, not for outcomes such as profitability or even reputation, IBA has resulted in outstanding reputations for some firms. We characterize IBA according to its missions, leadership, culture, and stakeholder relationships. We also contrast it with traditional forms of accountability and differentiate IBA from related stakeholder, stewardship, and CSR perspectives. Finally, we examine its manifestations within five long-lived family enterprises, in the process generating propositions to advance the concept.


Ideals and values Accountability Reputation Family firms 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Succession and Family Enterprise, Department of ManagementHEC MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Center for Research on Organization, Strategy & GovernanceHEC MontréalMontréalCanada

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