CCGR Information hub

Family firms

What is special about family firms?

Family-owned firms are the oldest and most prevalent type of business in the world. 

The special aspect of a family firm is that it is owned, and also often managed, by a group of people with strong pre-existing and ongoing personal (family) relationships. These social ties may have both advantages and disadvantages in relation to running a business. 

Research on family firms fundamentally asks the question of whether the integration of production and personal ties matters for corporate governance and firm performance. Companies are governed in accordance with the preferences of their owners and managers, and governance may differ in family firms because family owners pursue other objectives than the maximization of profits. For example, they are often believed to have a longer horizon than non-family owners and to prioritize passing the firm on to the next generation. Family owners are also often believed to manage the business with the aim of preserving the family's control of it. Research-based evidence can help us understand to what extent such beliefs have merit.


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Defining family firms

There are many definitions of family firms used in various studies. Read more

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Profitability and performance of family firms

Norwegian family-owned firms generally outperform nonfamily-owned firms. Similar results have been documented in multiple other countries. Read more

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Successions in family firms

What are the basic findings about the generational shift and share transfer in family firms? Do disagreements about the business influence inheritance decisions? Read more.


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The family and the family firm

The family firm usually represents the family's main investment. Conversely, the family represents an important course of funding and labor for the family firm. Read more


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Family firms and geography

Family firms represent the vast majority of firms, especially in less central regions. In those regions they also stand for a large proportion of revenues, assets, and employment. Read more


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Family firms and their nonfamily shareholders

The relationship with minority shareholders is quite important for family firms. Read more

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Family firms and the Covid crisis

A wide range of firms were affected by the Covid crisis. Family firms are generally considered to be more resilient and closer to their employees, but they also have limited resources. Read more

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Basic facts about family firms

Family ownership is the most prevalent way of organizing private enterprise in Norway. 70% of Norwegian companies are controlled by families in the sense that one family owns 50 percent or more of the firm’s equity. Read more

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Intergenerational ownership and CEO transition

Changes in the management of a family business can be a contentious and risky affair. Successors often have big shoes to fill and the weight of the family’s future success on their shoulders. Read more

Woman leading a meeting

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Governance of family firms

Families are usually deeply involved with the family firm: besides being owners of the firm, they are also often represented on the board of directors and in the management team of the firm. Read more

Illustration: money, numbers and graphs

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Wealth tax

Does the taxation of wealth have repurcussions on companies? Read more

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Family firms and industries

Family firms represent a majority of the firms in most industries. They are more widespread in less capital-intensive industries. Read more


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New firms

Family firms are different from nonfamily firms starting from their initial years. Read more