The Influence of the Business Name on the Economic Performance of Family Firms: An Analysis According to the Generational Stage




Family identity, family business, business name, economic profitability, size, generation


A family identity of a firm, exhibited by the presence of the family name in the business name, can influence the value of economic profitability. The present analysis also explores if this relationship varies depending on the size and the generation running the business. The sample used to conduct this study comprises a panel data set of 21,149 Spanish family firms containing information from 2003 to 2015, which translates into a balanced database including 274,937 observations. For analysis purposes, the firms are classified into small, medium-sized and large ones. Contrary to the competitive advantages brought about by the family identity of the businesses highlighted by previous research, the current study suggests its negative effects on the profitability of small and medium-sized family firms. This effect is more acute when the company is managed by its founding generation. The findings in the case of large family firms indicate that the company name does not have an impact upon economic profitability.


Download data is not yet available.


Alonso-Dos-Santos, M., Llanos-Contreras, O., & Farías, P. (2019). Family firms’ identity communication and consumers’ product involvement impact on consumer response. Psychology and Marketing, 36(8), 791–798.

Alonso Dos Santos, M., Contreras, O. L., Moreno, F. C., & Felicio, J. A. (2020). Should a family firm communicate their family identity and country of origin? A cross-cultural study from Chile and Spain. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 17(3), 725-746.

Arrondo-García, R., Fernández-Méndez, C., & Menéndez-Requejo, S. (2016). The growth and performance of family businesses during the global financial crisis: the role of the generation in control. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 7(4), 227–237.

Arzubiaga, U., Maseda, A., & Iturralde, T. (2019). Exploratory and exploitative innovation in family businesses: the moderating role of the family firm image and family involvement in top management. Review of Managerial Science, 13(1), 1–31.

Astrachan, C. B., & Botero, I. (2018). ‘We are a family firm’: an exploration of the motives for communicating the family business brand. Journal of Family Business Management, 8(1), 2–21.

Astrachan, C. B., Botero, I., Astrachan, J. H., & Prügl, R. (2018). Branding the family firm: a review, integrative framework proposal, and research agenda. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 9(1), 1–13.

Banco de España (2017). Informe sobre la crisis financiera y bancaria en España 2008-2014, Madrid.

Beck, S., & Kenning, P. (2015). The influence of retailers’ family firm image on new product acceptance: an empirical investigation in the German FMCG market. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 43(12), 1126–1143.

Beck, S., & Prügl, R. (2018). Family firm reputation and humanization: consumers and the trust advantage of family firms under different conditions of brand familiarity. Family Business Review, 31(4), 460–482.

Berrone, P., Cruz, C., & Gómez-Mejía, L. R. (2012). Socioemotional wealth in family firms: theoretical dimensions, assessment approaches, and agenda for future research. Family Business Review, 25(3), 258–279.

Binz, C., Hair, J. F., Pieper, T. M., & Baldauf, A. (2013). Exploring the effect of distinct family firm reputation on consumers’ preferences. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 4(1), 3–11.

Bjornberg, A., & Nicholson, N. (2012). Emotional ownership: the next generation’s relationship with the family firm. Family Business Review, 25(4), 374–390.

Block, J. (2010). Family management, family ownership, and downsizing: evidence from S&P 500 firms. Family Business Review, 23(2), 109–130.

Boisvert, J., & Burton, S. (2011). Towards a better understanding of factors affecting transfer of brand associations. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 28(1), 57–66.

Breusch, T. S., & Pagan, A. R. (1980). The Lagrange multiplier test and its applications to model specification in econometrics. The Review of Economic Studies, 47(1), 239–253.

Brockman, P., Seung, H., Megginson, W., & Salas, J. (2018). It’s all in the name: evidence of founder-firm endowment effects. February, 3.

Campopiano, G., Brumana, M., Minola, T., & Cassia, L. (2020). Does growth represent chimera or bellerophon for a family business? The role of entrepreneurial orientation and family influence nuances. European Management Review, 17(3), 765–783.

Campopiano, G., De Massis, A., & Chirico, F. (2014). Firm philanthropy in SME-sized family firms: the effects of family involvement in ownership and management. Family Business Review, 27(3), 244–258.

Casprini, E., Melanthiou, Y., Pucci, T., & Zanni, L. (2020). Managing founder-based brand identity during succession. Journal of Brand Management, 27(1), 1–14.

European Commission (2009). Commission staff working document on the implementation of Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-size enterprises.

Craig, J. B., Dibrell, C., & Davis, P. S. (2008). Leveraging family-based brand identity to enhance firm competitiveness and performance in family businesses. Journal of Small Business Management, 46(3), 351–371.

Cruz, C., & Nordqvist, M. (2012). Entrepreneurial orientation in family firms: a generational perspective. Small Business Economics, 38(1), 33–49.

Davis, W. D., Dibrell, C., Craig, J. B., & Green, J. (2013). The effects of goal orientation and client feedback on the adaptive behaviors of family enterprise advisors. Family Business Review, 26(3), 215–234.

Dawson, A., Irving, G., Sharma, P., Chirico, F., & Marcus, J. (2014). Behavioral outcomes of next generation family members’ commitment to their firm. European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, 23(4), 570–581.

De Massis, A., Kotlar, J., Campopiano, G., & Cassia, L. (2013). Dispersion of family ownership and the performance of small-to-medium size private family firms. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 4(3), 166–175.

Deephouse, D. L., & Jaskiewicz, P. (2013). Do family firms have better reputations than non-family firms? An integration of socioemotional wealth and social identity theories. Journal of Management Studies, 50(3), 337–360.

Delmas, M. A., & Gergaud, O. (2014). Sustainable certification for future generations: the case of family business. Family Business Review, 27(3), 228–243.

Ensley, M. D., & Pearson, A. W. (2005). An exploratory comparison of the behavioral dynamics of top management teams in family and nonfamily new ventures: cohesion, conflict, potency, and consensus. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(3), 267–284.

Fang, H., Kotlar, J., Memili, E., Chrisman, J. J., & De Massis, A. (2018). The pursuit of international opportunities in family firms: generational differences and the role of knowledge-based resources. Global Strategy Journal, 8(1), 136–157.

Felicio, J. A., & Galindo-Villardón, M. P. (2015). Family characteristics and governance of small and medium-sized family firms. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 16(6), 1069–1084.

Gallucci, C., Santulli, R., & Calabrò, A. (2015). Does family involvement foster or hinder firm performance? The missing role of family-based branding strategies. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(3), 155–165.

García-Ramos, R., Díaz-Díaz, B., & García-Olalla, M. (2017). Independent directors, large shareholders and firm performance: the generational stage of family businesses and the socioemotional wealth approach. Review of Managerial Science, 11(1), 157–158.

Gómez-Mejía, L. R., Cruz, C., Berrone, P., & De Castro, J. (2011). The bind that ties: socioemotional wealth preservation in family firms. The Academy of Management Annals, 5(1), 653–707.

Greene, W. H. (2012). Econometric analysis (7th ed.), International edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Habbershon, T., & Williams, M. (1999). A resource-based framework for assessing the strategic advantage of family firms. Family Business Review, 12(1), 1–25.

Hu, Q., Zhang, Y., & Yao, J. (2018). Family involvement in middle management and its impact on the labor productivity of family firms. Management and Organization Review, 14(2), 249–274.

Ibáñez, M. J., Alonso Dos Santos, M., & Llanos-Contreras, O. (2021). Transmission of family identity and consumer response: do consumers recognize family firms? International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research.

IEF, & Red de Cátedras de Empresa Familiar (2016). La empresa familiar en España (2015). Instituto de la Empresa Familiar, 107.

IEF, & Red de Cátedras de Empresa Familiar (2018). Factores de competitividad y análisis financiero en la empresa familiar. Instituto de la Empresa Familiar, 80.

Jiang, D. S., Kellermanns, F. W., Munyon, T. P., & Morris, M. L. (2018). More than meets the eye: a review and future directions for the social psychology of socioemotional wealth. Family Business Review, 31(1), 125–157.

Kashmiri, S., & Mahajan, V. (2010). What’s in a name? An analysis of the strategic behavior of family firms. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27(3), 271–280.

Kashmiri, S., & Mahajan, V. (2014). A rose by any other name: are family firms named after their founding families rewarded more for their new product introductions? Journal of Business Ethics, 124(1), 81–99.

Kotlar, J., Fang, H., De Massis, A., & Frattini, F. (2014). Profitability goals, control goals, and the R&D investment decisions of family and nonfamily firms. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(6), 1128–1145.

Krappe, A., Goutas, L., & Schlippe, A. (2011). The family business brand: an enquiry into the construction of the image of family businesses. Journal of Family Business Management, 1(1), 37–46.

López-González, E., Martínez-Ferrero, J., & García-Meca, E. (2018). Corporate social responsibility in family firms: a contingency approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 211, 1044–1064.

Lwango, A., Coeurderoy, R., & Giménez Roche, G. A. (2017). Family influence and SME performance under conditions of firm size and age. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 24(3), 629–648.

Mahto, R. V., Chen, J. S., McDowell, W. C., & Ahluwalia, S. (2019). Shared identity, family influence, and the transgenerational intentions in family firms. Sustainability, 11(4), 1–15.

Maseda, A., Iturralde, T., & Arosa, B. (2015). Impact of outsiders on firm performance over different generations of family-owned SMEs. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(4), 1203–1218.

Memili, E., Fang, H., Chrisman, J. J., & De Massis, A. (2015). The impact of small-and medium-sized family firms on economic growth. Small Business Economics, 45(4), 771–785.

Micelotta, E. R., & Raynard, M. (2011). Concealing or revealing the family? Corporate brand identity strategies in family firms. Family Business Review, 24(3), 197–216.

Muzellec, L. (2006). What is in a name change? Re-joycing corporate names to create corporate brands. Corporate Reputation Review, 8(4), 305–321.

Naldi, L., Chirico, F., Kellermanns, F. W., & Campopiano, G. (2015). All in the family? An exploratory study of family member advisors and firm performance. Family Business Review, 28(3), 227–242.

Olivares-Delgado, F., Pinillos-Laffón, A., & Benlloch-Osuna, M. T. (2016). An approach to patronymic names as a resource for familiness and as a variable for family business identification. European Journal of Family Business, 6(1), 32–45.

Parada, M. J., & Dawson, A. (2017). Building family business identity through transgenerational narratives. Journal of Organisational Change Management, 30(3), 344–356.

Pérez-González, F. (2006). Inherited control and firm performance. American Economic Review, 96(5), 1559–1588.

Pittino, D., Chirico, F., Henssen, B., & Broekaert, W. (2020). Does increased generational involvement foster business growth? The moderating roles of family involvement in ownership and management. European Management Review, 17(3), 785–801.

Rojo Ramírez, A. A., Diéguez Soto, J., & López Delgado, P. (2011). Importance of the concept of family business in research: the use of ‘SABI’ database for its classification. European Journal of Family Business, 1(1), 53–67.

Rousseau, M. B., Kellermanns, F., Zellweger, T., & Beck, T. E. (2018). Relationship conflict, family name congruence, and socioemotional wealth in family firms. Family Business Review, 31(4), 397–416.

Rovelli, P., Benedetti, C., Fronzetti Colladon, A., & De Massis, A. (2022). As long as you talk about me: the importance of family firm brands and the contingent role of family-firm identity. Journal of Business Research, 139, 692–700.

Sageder, M., Mitter, C., & Feldbauer-Durstmüller, B. (2016). Image and reputation of family firms: a systematic literature review of the state of research. Review of Managerial Science, 12(1), 1–43.

Sánchez-Marín, G., Pemartín, M., & Monreal-Pérez, J. (2020). The influence of family involvement and generational stage on learning-by-exporting among family firms. Review of Managerial Science, 14(1), 311-334.

Schellong, M., Kraiczy, N. D., Malär L., & Hack, A. (2019). Family firm brands, perceptions of doing good, and consumer happiness. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 43(5), 921-946.

Shen, A., & Tikoo, S. (2020). Family business identity, consumer product evaluations and firm size. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 30(7), 937–948.

Simons, T. L., & Peterson, R. S. (2000). Task conflict and relationship conflict in top management teams: the pivotal role of intragroup trust. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(1), 102–111.

Sundaramurthy, C., & Kreiner, G. E. (2008). Governing by managing identity boundaries: the case of family businesses. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 32(3), 415–436.

Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7), 509–533.<509::AID-SMJ882>3.0.CO;2-Z

Tomo, A., Mangia, G., Pezzillo Iacono, M., & Canonico, P. (2021). Family firms going international: integrating corporate identity-building processes and socioemotional wealth dimensions. European Management Review, 1–15.

Uhlaner, L. M., Van Goor-Balk, H. J. M., & Masurel, E. (2004). Family business and corporate social responsibility in a sample of Dutch firms. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 11(2), 186–194.

Verbeek, M. (2012). A guide to modern econometrics, 4th ed. John Wiley & Sons.

Wagner, D., Block, J. H., Miller, D., Schwens, C., & Xi, G. (2015). A meta-analysis of the financial performance of family firms: another attempt. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(1), 3–13.

Weismeier-Sammer, D., Frank, H., & Von Schlippe, A. (2013). Untangling ‘Familiness’: a literature review and directions for future research. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 14(3), 165–177.

Wielsma, A. J., & Brunninge, O. (2019).’Who am I? Who are we?’ Understanding the impact of family business identity on the development of individual and family identity in business families. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 10(1), 38–48.

Zahra, S. A., Hayton, J. C., & Salvato, C. (2004). Entrepreneurship in family vs. non-family firms: a resource-based analysis of the effect of organisational culture. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 28(4), 363–379.

Zellweger, T. M., Eddleston, K. A., & Kellermanns, F. W. (2010). Exploring the concept of familiness: introducing family firm identity. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 1(1), 54–63.

Zellweger, T. M., Nason, R. S., Nordqvist, M., & Brush, C. G. (2013). Why do family firms strive for nonfinancial goals? An organisational identity perspective. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 37(2), 229–248.




How to Cite

Terrón-Ibáñez, S., Gómez-Miranda, M. E., & Rodríguez-Ariza, L. (2022). The Influence of the Business Name on the Economic Performance of Family Firms: An Analysis According to the Generational Stage. European Journal of Family Business, 12(2), 205–219.



Research article

Similar Articles

1 2 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.