Family-owned firms better at looking after staff

9 Dec 2021 By Jasmine Urquhart

But they are no more likely to do well at corporate responsibility

Companies owned by a family are better at looking after their staff but not the environment, a Spanish study has found.

Researchers looked at data from 423 European listed companies in 21 countries from 2008 to 2017.

Firms that are partially or wholly owned by a family scored better on corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures as family-owned companies are more likely to prioritise the needs of internal stakeholders, including staff. 

However, the study also measured environmental responsibility and found that family-owned firms were no more likely than non-family owned companies to score well on external CSR measures, which include environmental and community policies.

María del Pilar Rivera Franco, PhD researcher at the University of Salamanca, and one of the authors of the study, said: “The results confirm the better corporate social responsibility performance of family firms at an aggregate level… The more responsible behaviour… can be partly attributed to the higher exposure of the family identity. The visibility of the family name becomes a strong incentive to avoid CSR-related problems.”

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