It is generally recognized that family firms have received scant attention in the mainstream management literature, particularly with respect to the development of theories of the firm. This neglect is unfortunate because in terms of contributions, and especially numbers, family businesses represent a dominant form of economic organization throughout the world (Beckhard and Dyer, 1983; Shanker and Astrachan, 1996). The failure of scholarship to recognize, embrace, and deliberately incorporate family businesses into the mainstream theories of entrepreneurship and management may lead to the neglect of factors that would otherwise make those theories more robust and valuable. Furthermore, this neglect may mean that some of the theories developed do not apply to the vast majority of organizations that exist, or will exist, in the world. Finally, family businesses may offer particularly appealing circumstances for studying certain kinds of organizational phenomena. It is hoped that this special issue will contribute to filling this gap.
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