Call for Proposals

Typologies and Taxonomies of Family Businesses

Family Business Review (FBR) – 2019 Special Issue


Keith Brigham (keith.brigham), Texas Tech University

Nadine Kammerlander (nadine.kammerlander), WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Donald O. Neubaum (dneubaum), Florida Atlantic University

DEADLINE: December 1, 2017

The notion of the family business remains contested as many different “types” of family businesses (e.g., privately-held, publically-held, founder lead, family-owned, family-managed, multigenerational) exist. Yet researchers often toss these (and other) “types” of family businesses together, ignoring how these dimensions reflect their uniqueness. Further, efforts at “classifying” family businesses are often based on the availability of data, as opposed to being the result of sound theory or practical reasoning.

Configurational researchers suggest that “(n)umerous dimensions of environments, industries, technologies, strategies, structures, cultures, ideologies, groups, members, processes, practices, beliefs, and outcomes” often cluster together into configurations, archetypes or gestalts (Meyer, Tsui & Hinings, 1993, p. 1175). These configurations can be reflected in typologies (which are conceptually developed) or taxonomies (which are empirically derived). Organizational elements often correlate in stable and predictable patterns (Donaldson, 1986) and our understanding of organizations is best advanced by exploring their overall patterning (Miller, 1986), as opposed to conducting bivariate or multi-variate examinations, as elements often take their meanings from the whole.

While models, such as FIBER (Berrone, Cruz and Gomez-Mejia, 2011), for example, have been forwarded to describe the dimensions of a family business’ commitment to socioemotional wealth (SEW), we know little about how or why family businesses emphasize one dimension over another, or the implications of those choices on other elements within the family firm. Yet we know there exists a group of family firms that particularly emphasize the “emotional attachment” aspect of SEW while another group emphasizes “family identification with the firm.” As configurational research would suggest, emphasis on these dimensions further correlate with others in the constellation of dimensions where family firms exist.

While some researchers (e.g., Cadieux, 2007; García‐Álvarez & López‐Sintas, 2001; Yu, Lumpkin, Sorenson & Brigham, 2012), have taken a configurational approach in their study of family businesses, Chrisman, Sharma, Steier and Chua (2013) note that “it comes as no surprise that some family business researchers have employed this perspective to decipher the patterns of attributes, behaviors, and outcomes of family enterprises. Perhaps what is a bit curious is that configurations are not more prominent in the family business literature” (p. 1257). These authors argue that configuration-based inquiries devoted to exploring the pattern of relationships among variables commonly associated with family businesses would likely advance the literature towards a theory of the family enterprise.

With this in mind, this special issue is devoted to manuscripts that take a configurational approach in their examination of family enterprises. In particular, we seek submissions that:

1) explore the nature of family businesses and develop theoretically-based typologies, empirically-based taxonomies, or sets of different configurations that “collectively exhaust a large fraction” (Miller and Friesen, 1984, p. 12) of family enterprises; or 2) discuss how future research might be advanced by invoking a configurational approach to the study of family enterprises.

The editors of this special issue invite authors to submit proposals to develop manuscripts related to the topic of the special issue. Both conceptual and empirical submissions will be fully considered. Proposals should be no more than three (3) single-spaced pages. References, tables, and appendices may also be included as additional pages, but the completed proposal must be no longer than 10 pages inclusive. The special issue guest editors will review the received proposals and invite authors to submit a full paper for publication consideration in this special issue. Due date for proposals is December 1, 2017. All papers will undergo the standard double-blind review process and must meet the standards of FBR.

All articles published in this special issue must make a significant contribution to theory.

Submission process and timeline:

December 1, 2017 Proposals Due. Proposals should be 2-3 pages describing the full paper and outlining its contribution to the family business field. Please submit proposals via the FBR online submission portal at (please be sure to select Typologies and Taxonomies SI as the submission type).

January 1, 2018 Decisions on Proposals Shared with Authors

May 1, 2018 Full Papers Due

July 1, 2018 Decisions/Feedback on Initial Submissions

October 1, 2018 Invited Revisions Due

November 1, 2018 Decisions on Revised Papers (only Minor Revisions at this stage)

December 1, 2018 All Papers and Editor’s Introduction Finalized

January 1, 2019 Final Decisions Made

January 15, 2019 All Content Transferred to SAGE

June, 2019 Special Issue Published

We look forward to receiving your proposals and working hard with you to make this special issue a success for our field. For questions, please contact any member of the special issue co-editors.

Family Business Review has a 2 year impact factor of 4.229 and a 5 year impact factor of 6.360. It is rated a 3 on the ABS Academic Journal Quality Guide.


Berrone, P. Cruz, C., Gomez-Mejia, L.R. (2012). Socioemotional wealth in family firms: Theoretical dimensions, assessment approaches, and agenda for future research.Family Business Review, 25(3): 258-279.

Cadieux, L. (2007). Succession in Small and Medium‐Sized Family Businesses: Toward a Typology of Predecessor Roles During and After Instatement of the Successor. Family Business Review, 20(2), 95-109.

Chrisman, J. J., Sharma, P., Steier, L. P., & Chua, J. H. (2013). The influence of family goals, governance, and resources on firm outcomes. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(6), 1249-1261.

Donaldson, L. 1986. In defense of organization theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

García‐Álvarez, E., & López‐Sintas, J. (2001). A taxonomy of founders based on values: The root of family business heterogeneity. Family Business Review, 14(3), 209-230.

Meyer, A.D., Tsui, A.S. & Hinnings, C.R. (1993). Configurational approaches to organizational analysis. Academy of Management Journal, 35(6): 1175-1195.

Miller, D. (1986). Configurations of strategy and structure: Towards a synthesis. Strategic Management Journal, 7; 233-249.

Miller, D. & Friesen, P.H. (1984). Organizations: A quantum view. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Yu, A., Lumpkin, G. T., Sorenson, R. L., & Brigham, K. H. (2012). The landscape of family business outcomes: A summary and numerical taxonomy of dependent variables. Family Business Review, 25(1), 33-57.

Donald O. Neubaum

DeSantis Distinguished Professor

Florida Atlantic University

College of Business

Department of Management

777 Glades Road

Boca Raton, FL 33431