Boers has studied family owned media companies focusing on four pairs of dualities: formality- informality, dependence – independence, new paths – historic paths and commercial – journalistic.
“A dualities perspective will allow you to see both traits in the pair and emphasize both”, says Boers. The dualities could be mistaken for opposites, but in fact they can complement each other instead of working against one another, thereby creating special advantages for family businesses.
For example, a family business can have the advantage of being both formal and informal, using each of these traits when suitable. This creates certain flexibility.
“A family business may go the informal way when it comes to decision making. The owner simply makes the decision and the employees accept it because it’s the owner that has made it. This is a lot quicker than the bureaucratic ways of deciding things that are needed in other types of companies”, says Boers.
His conclusion is that the owner families carry these dualities with them, and that, when it comes to creating an organizational identity, the owner family equals the business. The owner and their business are a pair of dualities themselves and are not separated in the eyes of others.
“Owners of family businesses need to be aware of this role. Not all are. They need to know that because of this unique position, in the middle of these dualities, they can get an advantage over other businesses that they are competing with. Because they have the possibility to switch between traits that may seem opposite, but are, in fact, both part of the organizational identity”.
Faculty opponent was Professor Thomas Zellweger, St. Gallen University, Switzerland
Examining committee was Professor Martin Lindell, Hanken, Finland, Associate Professor Stefan Sveningsson, Lund University, and Professor Leona Achtenhagen, JIBS.
Chairperson at the defense was Professor Leif Melin, JIBS.