Identifying as an outsider: implications for nonfamily in small family firms
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CUNNINGHAM, J. 2018. Identifying as an outsider: implications for nonfamily in small family firms. International journal of human resource management [online], Latest Articles. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2018.1469160
Family businesses are held in high regard the world over for their impact on employment, credited in part to their longevity and abundance. In spite of this omnipresence, we have only begun to understand the day-to-day realities of the family business as an employer. In this work, I look to further this understanding by investigating what it means to work for a family business. Nonfamily employees contribute greatly, however, they are not closely coupled to the identity of the family unit. I ask how they see, understand and deal with their identity as outsiders in a close family business. A social constructivist approach is used to paint a picture of how nonfamily identity is formed, using qualitative data and inductive analytical methods. Findings highlight the identity of nonfamily as developed through their relationship with the family business. This relationship is explained as a function of social identity theory and the implications forfamily business management are explored.