Determinants of family meetings in private family businesses

Akif Cicek, Rüveyda Kelleci, Pieter Vandekerkhof*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Family governance mechanisms serve to govern and strengthen relations between the family and the business, as well as the relationships between the members of the business family itself. However, despite agreement on the importance of adopting family governance structures, explicit research on the determinants of family governance mechanisms is currently missing. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to uncover the determinants of family meetings. In order to do so, the social systems theory is used to unravel several determining factors of this crucial form of family governance mechanisms in private family firms.
The authors perform a qualitative study by conducting semi-structured interviews in eight Belgian private family firms in order to discover the antecedents of the implementation of family meetings. The authors use a pattern-matching technique as an analytical strategy.
The findings of the study highlight the importance of “soft,” relational, qualitative issues as antecedents of family meetings as opposed to previous research on family governance, which predominantly focused on “hard,” quantitative measures (e.g. family ownership). The findings of the study also provide novel insights into the origins of the family component (i.e. family meetings) of family business governance.
While the current literature has only focused on describing the different types of family governance and their positive consequences for the family firm, the authors take a step back to explain why family meetings, as a form of family governance, are adopted in the first place. Second, the authors demonstrate the instrumentality of the social systems theory in understanding the family's needs that necessitate the implementation of family governance mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-779
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Family Business Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Determinants
  • Family businesses
  • Family governance
  • Family meetings
  • Social systems theory


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