Between Kinship and Commerce: Fiduciaries and the Institutional Logics of Family Firms

Brooke Harrington, Vanessa M. Strike

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this study we explore how the institutions of kinship and commerce are integrated within family businesses. Previous research shows that family firms’ characteristic synthesis of institutional logics often unravels during intergenerational successions; however, it remains unclear how this process can be arrested, or by whom. Through inductive analysis, we offer a novel insight: outside advisors can act as surrogates for family in this integrative role. Specifically, we identify fiduciaries—professionals with special client obligations—as key actors in preserving family firms’ viability as commercial enterprises and kinship groups. Our findings contribute to theories of family businesses, professions, and institutions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Business Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)417-440
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 8. June 2018


  • Fiduciary
  • Advising
  • Family firm
  • Institutional logics

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