What do we know about private family firms?
A meta-analytical review
The universe of family firms is heterogeneous, and findings gleaned from publicly listed firms may not apply to the ubiquitous, but less frequently studied, privately held family firm (PFF). As PFFs are insulated from capital market pressures, owner-managers have greater latitude in setting strategic goals, which may result in different strategic choices and performance outcomes. By employing meta-analytical techniques on 48 studies conducted in nine countries, we synthesize prior PFF research. We show that PFFs prefer more conservative strategies, but contrary to received wisdom, this risk aversion does not hurt their performance. We conclude with an agenda for future research.