Corporate governance in Belgian private family firms and SMEs: the impact on entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance

Date: 18 May 2016

Venue: University of Antwerp, Promotiezaal Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 5:00 PM

PhD candidate: Robin Deman

Principal investigator: Prof. Ann Jorissen

Co-principal investigator: Prof Eddy Laveren

Short description: PhD defence Robin Deman - Faculty of Applied Economics


Taking into account non-listed firms and SMEs, this dissertation focuses on two key elements of these corporations’ governance system, being (1) the overlap of memberships between ownership, management, and board of directors, and (2) the board of directors’ level of involvement in control, service, and strategic tasks (i.e. board task performance). The objective of this dissertation is to enhance the understanding of corporate governance in a non-listed firm context.

For this purpose we conduct three empirical studies whose outline is inspired by the scholarly call to incorporate the idea that there is no one best way to govern and that corporate governance must be tailored to the particular circumstances faced by a corporation. One contextual factor that is of particular interest in this dissertation is the presence of a family entity in the ownership, management, and/or board of directors of non-listed firms and SMEs. In the first empirical study we investigate the effect of an overlap of memberships between ownership, management, and/or board of directors on the level of board task performance. In the second empirical study we examine whether family SMEs are less or more innovative than nonfamily SMEs and whether the level of board task performance is an underlying mechanism explaining this difference.

In the third and last empirical study, we aim to uncover configurations of conditions that explain a family firm’s growth rate. The conditions under investigation pertain to the family firm’s life cycle phase, its strategic orientation, and its level of board strategic task involvement. Multiple methodologies are applied throughout the dissertation: moderated regression with interaction effects (study 1), structural equation modeling to test a mediation model (study 2), and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (study 3). All analyses are based on survey data collected from Belgian limited liability companies and SMEs that are privately-owned. Our findings contribute to the academic literature as well as practice.