Family commitment and performance in private family firms: moderating effect of professionalization

Mohammad Rezaur Razzak*, Suaad Jassem, Alima Akter, Syed Abdulla Al Mamun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this research is to examine the interplay between family commitment as a family-centric resource and professionalization of the organization as a firm-centric resource to determine how the two phenomenon come together to enhance business performance in the context of privately held family firms. Design/methodology/approach: Deploying the theoretical lens offered by the resource-based view, a conceptual link is developed between family commitment to the firm and firm performance with the potential moderating influence of firm professionalization. The hypotheses are tested using data collected from 357 privately held medium-to-large family-owned manufacturing companies in Bangladesh. The data are analyzed through structural equation modeling using SmartPLS (v.3.2). Findings: The data analysis suggests that in absence of the moderator; professionalization, family commitment has a positive and significant association with firm performance. While in the presence of the moderator the above relationship is substantially stronger. The findings indicate that when family-specific resources and firm-specific resources are synchronized, it enhances performance of the family firm and puts it on a strong economic footing toward a more sustainable future. Research limitations/implications: Cross-sectional nature of the study exposes it to the specter of common method bias despite the fact that procedural remedies were initiated to minimize the impact of such occurrence. Furthermore, data were collected from a single individual in each organization. Therefore, a longitudinal study with data obtained from multiple individuals at different levels of the organization would possibly yield more robust findings. Practical implications: Leaders of family firms may find pertinent clues from the outcome of this study. Particularly, the confluence of family commitment to the firm as a family-specific resource and professionalization as a firm-specific resource can be valuable, rare, difficult to imitate and substitute source of competitive advantage for the family business organization. Social implications: Survival of family businesses is vital to the global economy as one of the primary drivers of global gross domestic product growth and source of new employment. Policymakers can benefit from the findings of this study to customize policies to nurture growth of family enterprises and incentivize family firms to adopt professionalization through better governance and transparent managerial procedures. Originality/value: A nuanced understanding of how family commitment and firm professionalization combine to significantly improve performance of family firms has not been dominant in the literature. Therefore, findings of this study carry special theoretical implications, because it suggests that both family-specific features and firm-specific features are necessary for enhanced levels of firm-centric business outcomes such as economic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-689
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Family commitment
  • Firm performance
  • Professionalization
  • RBV
  • Resource-based view

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management

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