Accounting Research in Family Firms: Theoretical and Empirical Challenges

Posted: 15 Jan 2014

See all articles by Annalisa Prencipe

Annalisa Prencipe

Bocconi University - Department of Accounting

Sasson Bar-Yosef

Bocconi University - Department of Accounting

Henri C. Dekker

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Date Written: December 19, 2013

Abstract

Family firms play a significant role in the global economy. Consistently, over the last two decades academia has turned its attention to the family dimension as a determinant of business phenomena, and this interest has increased over time. While family business research has reached an age of ‘adolescence’ as a field of study, accounting research to date seems to have been rather slow to pick up on the distinctive characteristics of family firms, and their implications for accounting and reporting practices. In an attempt to accelerate and support research in the field, in this article we highlight theoretical and empirical challenges that accounting scholars need to consider when addressing issues related to accounting and reporting in family firms. These challenges include the selection and potential mixing of appropriate theoretical frameworks, and complications in defining operationally what family firms are. We also provide a ‘state of the art’ of studies in financial accounting, management accounting and auditing, identifying which issues in relation to family firms have been addressed in the research, and which theories, research methods and types of data have been used in these studies. We conclude by providing directions for future research that can advance our understanding of accounting and reporting in family firms.

Keywords: Family Firms, Accounting Research, Literature Review, Theoretical Issues, Empirical Issues

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49

Suggested Citation

Prencipe, Annalisa and Bar-Yosef, Sasson and Dekker, Henri C., Accounting Research in Family Firms: Theoretical and Empirical Challenges (December 19, 2013). European Accounting Review Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2376214

Annalisa Prencipe (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Sasson Bar-Yosef

Bocconi University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Henri C. Dekker

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands

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