Family business goal formation: a literature review and discussion of alternative algorithms

  • Ralph I. WilliamsJr.Email author
  • Torsten M. Pieper
  • Franz W. Kellermanns
  • Joseph H. Astrachan


Goals represent an organization’s desired outcomes, and family businesses are known to pursue multiple goals, which commonly include both financial and non-financial aspects. While family business goals have garnered much attention among researchers, relatively little is known about the approaches that family businesses use to shape their idiosyncratic goal sets. The purpose of this article is twofold. First, we review the family business literature and synthesize the current knowledge regarding goal formation. Second, we incorporate insights from extant organizational goal literature and discuss various approaches (algorithms)—specifically, maximizing, satisficing, and optimizing—that family businesses may employ to select goals. These insights form the foundation for our discussion and recommendations for future research aimed at furthering the understanding of family business goal formation.


Family business Goal formation Maximizing Satisficing Optimizing 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jennings A. Jones College of BusinessMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboroUSA
  2. 2.Belk College of BusinessUniversity of North Carolina CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Addison H. and Gertrude C. Reese Endowed Chair, WHU (Otto Beisheim School of Management)University of North Carolina – CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  4. 4.Management and Entrepreneurship, Coles College of BusinessKennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA

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