Pillars or Platitudes? A Family Business Approach to Building Employee Trust through Organizational Care during a Rare Event

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The purpose of this paper is to better understand (a) what types of organizational care family firms apply during a rare event and (b) how organizational care interacts with the psychological contract and employee trust. To explore this topic, we conduct a single case study as part of a longitudinal action research project with a large Australian family firm that was founded on the corporate value of care. Utilizing grounded theory, we conducted interviews with (a) family members, as well as (b) non-family members at top and middle management positions across various organizational departments and (c) their respective employees (n=16). Our qualitative findings confirm a range of organizational care initiatives, upon which we propose a conceptual model and propositions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2022
EventIFERA 2022: The Gears of Legacies- Next-generations Driving Family Business Renewal and Endurance - University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
Duration: 22 Jun 202224 Jun 2022


ConferenceIFERA 2022
OtherGenerational dynamics are a central and defining feature of family businesses. Different generations hold distinct perceptions and understandings of the reality, carry unique knowledge and competencies, have distinct goals, and play a key role as active agents in organizations facing change and transformation processes. Generational differences and cooperation between generations shape profoundly the family firms’ ability and willingness to drive strategic and organizational renewal processes, and they contribute uniquely to their ability to survive and thrive in fast-changing social, technological, competitive and institutional contexts. Tackling these issues requires a deep understanding of the inter-generational dynamics characterizing family firms, a topic that has received surprisingly too little research attention so far in the family business literature. On the one hand, we need more knowledge on the role of incoming generations in developing regenerative capacities necessary to be innovative, international and entrepreneurial, to secure and also enlarge economic and non-economic wealth for future generations. On the other hand, we also need to understand more thoroughly how incoming generations relate to the incumbent or senior one, as the latter must supply critical know how and expertise, mentoring the young and preserving the foundational values, identities and idiosyncrasies of the family business.
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