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Family involvement and corporate social responsibility in small- and medium-sized family firms

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Abstract

Abstract
This study investigates how family involvement affects engagement of private small- and medium-sized family firms in corporate social responsibility. We draw on reputation and self-interest arguments to hypothesize and test the effects of degree of family ownership, intra-family ownership dispersion, and family generation in control on firm engagement in corporate social responsibility. Using survey data collected from a sample of 136 Italian small- and medium-sized family firms, we find support for our hypotheses and underlying contention that family involvement matters, as CSR engagement decreases if a higher percentage of shares is owned by the family, ownership is dispersed among a higher number of family members, as well as later-generations control the business. We conclude by discussing the study’s implications for theory and practice, limitations, and future research directions.