Carbone, Emmadonata (2022) Family firms go public: exploring empirical and theoretical implications of an IPO in family businesses. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Resource language: English
Title: Family firms go public: exploring empirical and theoretical implications of an IPO in family businesses
Date: 12 July 2022
Number of Pages: 175
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: Economia, Management e Istituzioni
Dottorato: Management
Ciclo di dottorato: 34
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Riccardo, ViganòUNSPECIFIED
Date: 12 July 2022
Number of Pages: 175
Keywords: Initial Public Offering; family business;
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-P/07 - Economia aziendale
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2022 17:32
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2024 11:11

Collection description

Despite the relevance of the IPO process in family firms, for practice and research, our knowledge on the topic is fragmented, and it is far from offering a holistic view of the listing process in family businesses. Not a minor issue rests in the fact that, up to now, the topic has been addressed mainly through the application of theories deriving from other research fields by employing purely quantitative methodologies that hamper our ability to move deeper into the phenomenon. Filling these research gaps appears important for several reasons. From a theoretical point of view, an ongoing debate in the family business field involves the extent to which the uniqueness of family firms hinders or promotes entrepreneurial behaviour (Habbershon and Pistrui, 2002). IPO represents undoubtedly an entrepreneurial setting (Lester et al., 2006) where studying the role of family may help to understand how its involvement affects entrepreneurship outcomes. Moreover, despite the fact that the uniqueness of family businesses has catalysed scholars’ attention over the last decades of research, family business literature still calls for works to add new insights and better understand family firms’ behaviours. From a practical point of view, an increase in the awareness of the actors involved in the IPO, about specific family businesses’ needs, may help practitioners to provide family business the right support, regulators to set relevant normative interventions as well family leaders to consider the IPO as an opportunity rather than a threat. Starting from these premises, this thesis aims to shed light on the peculiarities of the IPO process in family firms with a special focus on why and how family firms face the IPO. Going one-step further, we address three group of research questions. In chapter one, we systematically review the existing literature on IPO and family businesses. The research questions are the following: “How have studies to date conceptualized IPOs in family businesses in terms of theoretical frameworks, IPO phase, family focus, empirical approach and research insights?” and “What are the unexplored research questions and how should they be addressed to advance our understanding of the phenomenon?”. Our research reveals that literature on the topic polarized around the ending part of the IPO process and its consequences, leaving neglected the area of motivations. At the same time, studies on the topic mainly ignored the behaviours of family firms in the pre-IPO and process phases. Moreover, we highlight that most studies ground on theory belonging to IPO literature, failing to adopt a family perspective. Finally, our literature review clearly points out that the quantitative approach used previously is unable to provide a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. In chapter two, we focus on why and how family businesses go public via IPO with the aim to provide a complete representation of the IPO in family firms and create a bridge between motivations, process, and outcomes by relying on the socioemotional wealth (SEW) perspective. By using a qualitative approach, we address the following research questions: “Why and how do family firms go public?” and “How do SEW dimensions shape family influence on the IPO and its outcomes?”. Our study indicates that family firms go public via IPO following three different paths (i.e., shine, continue, and challenge) which differ in motivations, process, and outcomes. We also suggest that from different motivations may derive different IPO paths characterized by peculiarities about how the IPO is carried out as well as by different outcomes. We also point out that interactions between SEW dimensions exist and that they may be associated with family businesses’ heterogeneity. In the last chapter, we shift our attention on the IPO preparation phase, by investigating the factors influencing the CEO status choice, with a special focus on the role of the family founder. We ground on the signalling theory and employ a quantitative method. The associated research question is: “What factors affect the CEO status choice at an IPO?”. Our analyses reveal that family IPOs tend to mitigate the redundant signal of family overhang, by choosing to go public with a non-family CEO to convey an alternative nonfamily-related signal to the market. On the same line, in the presence of greater family generational involvement (associated with a higher risk of rent extraction), the need to go public with a non-family CEO is reinforced. Furthermore, when the choice is internal to the family (founder family CEO vs non-founder family CEO), family IPOs balance their family involvement signals by using the founder family status as a complementary signal of family overhang. Also in such circumstance, family generational involvement strengthens the likelihood of choosing a founder family CEO who is perceived as being more capable to handle family and market pressures. The structure of the thesis allows us to offer a comprehensive representation of the IPO process in family businesses, by adopting an integrated theoretical framework which considers both the socioemotional wealth perspective and the signalling theory. In this sense, while the literature review aims to lay the foundations to enable a fruitful advancement of practical and academic knowledge, the other two chapters intends to exploit research gaps and to offer theoretical and practical contributions to the field.


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