Opening the Black Box of Financing Decision-Making : Exploring the Process, Actors and Arenas in Family Firms
Financing decisions are an important topic for all firms. Especially in family firms this topic is of high interest due to the interplay of financial and non-financial goals. Recent studies so far have resulted in inconsistent findings, as the process of how these decisions are made is not well understood.
This thesis aims to provide an understanding for how the financing decision-making process unfolds in family firms. Our approach is guided by strategy-as-practice and the concepts of strategic actors and arenas in order to uncover where the process unfolds and who is involved. Based on a case study approach in the German context, the study suggests that the financing process develops through the alternation between formal and informal arenas. While in formal arenas conformity is desired, in the informal arenas friction is tolerated and practitioners can discuss openly their opinions and ideas.
Our findings add to the theoretical understanding of micro-activities in family businesses by outlining external arenas and actors as an overlooked component. Furthermore, the study contributes to current research about financing in the context of family firms by highlighting the role of norms and how they influence usable practices. In addition, this thesis is of interest to practitioners who are involved in financing decision-making processes in family firms as it provides them with better understanding how to approach the process.
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