Does culture count? Comparative performances of top family and non-family firms

Christopher Carr, Suzanne Bateman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sixty-five of the world’s largest family firms were compared against with those of a matched sample of 65 non-family firms. Contrary to previous studies, family firms here displayed higher profitability and a broadly positive (if slightly inconsistent) relationship between increasing family ownership levels and performance. Sales growth was also consistently higher over 20 years when averaged worldwide. Since other studies have mainly been restricted to single countries or regions, we further analysed differences across continents and country cultures. Within both North America and Europe family and non-family firms were equally profitable (though family firms grew relatively faster in North America). The same was true for ‘high-trust’ countries and also for Anglo-Saxon regions. However, in low-trust countries and also in more long-termist Asian countries, family firms performed better than non-family firms both in terms of profitability and sales growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-262
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • family firms
  • global top firms
  • cross-regional
  • country culture
  • comparative performance


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