Theoretical Perspectives on Family Firms

  • Enzo PeruffoEmail author


This chapter offers a general perspective on family firms—the most widespread form of business organization. It begins with an analysis of various possible definitions of “family firm,” distinguishing two main approaches: components-of-involvement and essence. This assessment establishes a challenge to traditional views that treat family firms as homogeneous. Next, a review of existing literature provides a systematic summary of the primary theoretical approaches adopted to investigate family firms: agency theory, the resource-based view of the firm, stewardship theory, and the behavioral agency model. This chapter concludes with a discussion of how the behaviors, goals, and interests of family firm owners define their firms’ strategic decisions and performance.


Family firms Family firm heterogeneity Family business theory 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business and ManagementLUISS Guido CarliRomeItaly

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