Journal of Family Business Strategy - Human Resources and Mutual Gains in Family Firms

When:  Apr 30, 2019 from 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM (ET)
Associated with  Entrepreneurship (ENT)

Journal of Family Business Strategy
2016 Impact Factor: 2.375

Special Issue - Call for Papers

Human Resources and Mutual Gains in Family Firms

Guest Editors:
Luca Gnan (Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy) & Frank Lambrechts (Hasselt University, Belgium)

Human resources involve ?the knowledge, skills, networks and energies of people and, underpinning them, their physical and emotional health, intellectual capabilities, personalities and motivations? (Boxall, 2013, p. 13). They are vital for both individuals and organizations. Individuals need human resources as a source of livelihood and to fulfil their human potentials; organizations require human resources as a source of competitive advantage and continual renewal. However, finding congruence between the person and the organization has always been challenging (Argyris, 1964): How to manage human resources to create mutual benefits for both individuals (in terms of employee well-being and human flourishing) and organizations (in terms of high performance) in contrast to realizing conflicting outcomes?

In contemporary HRM research and practice there has been a resurgence of interest in how HRM is able to achieve mutuality or mutual benefits for all key stakeholders, including the employee base, as opposed to HRM solely improving returns to owners and shareholders (Boxall, 2013; Beer, Boselie, & Brewster, 2015; Edgar, Geare, Zhang, & McAndrew, 2015; Valizade, Ogbonnaya, Tregaskis, & Forde, 2016; Guest, 2017). For example, Boxall (2013) has outlined three conditions under which mutuality (or a stronger alignment of interests, or a better person-organization fit) can be achieved in employment relationships. First, a capability match, meaning a match between the employer?s need for a capable, talented workforce and the employees? need for a supportive work environment conducive to develop one?s potential (e.g., Verleysen, Lambrechts, & Van Acker, 2015). Second, a commitment match, meaning a fit between the employer?s need for commitment and flexibility of employees and the employees? need for job security, experience built-up, and fairness of treatment. Third, a contribution match, whereby both parties perceive that their respective needs are being met. The underlying idea is one of reciprocity, ?such that if the employer prioritizes HR practices that promote well-being [the overall quality of an employee's experience and functioning at work, Warr, 1987], employees in return will respond positively, reflected in various indicators of performance? (Guest, 2017, p. 28).

This Special Issue on "Human Resources and Mutual Gains in Family Firms" aims to bring the mutuality perspective from the field of HRM into the family business domain. Family businesses' features can impact on a number of mutuality issues, related to HRM, such as the fit between the individual (human development and flourishing) and the organization (design), including managing the recruitment and the selection process of human potential, motivating people, alignment of remuneration packages, and developing people considering work-life balance as well as organization-group-individual ?soft? domains, such as needs, motivations, commitment, job satisfaction, individual development, organizational citizenship, leadership styles, managing conflicts, and negotiations. This implicates looking at employment relationships from both sides, the employee and the family firm.

By focusing on mutuality in the employment relationship in family firms, a myriad of theories and concepts from the organizational behavior domain become highly relevant to advance theory on HR management and development in family firms: fairness/equity, self-determination, intrinsic motivation, voice, citizenship behavior, trust, psychological contract, appreciative inquiry, positive organizational behavior, social learning, psychological capital, task enrichment, etc. Furthermore, a mutuality perspective will help to give HRM research in family firms more coherence and direction. Currently, the body of HRM knowledge in the family business domain is scarce and largely undertheorized (Cruz, Firfiray, & Gmez-Meja, 2011). Lansberg (1983) and Astrachan and Kolenko (1994) were among the first to emphasize the importance of sound HR practices in family firms contributing to organizational capability as a source of potential competitive advantage (Astrachan & Kolenko, 1994). Research by de Kok, Uhlaner, and Thurik (2006) found that family firms tend to make less use of professional HR practices as opposed to non-family firms because of lower capability or a lesser need to do so because of lower agency costs. Furthermore, pointing to the importance of taking heterogeneity of family firms into account, McCann, Leon-Guerrero, and Hailey Jr. (2001) found that growth family firms rated the importance of HR issues significantly higher than family firms that were not growing. Barnett and Kellermanns (2006) conceptualized the link between justice perceptions of nonfamily employees and family-influenced HR practices within family firms and Hauswald, Hack, Kellermanns, & Patzelt (2016), using a person-organization fit logic, found that job applicants who value conservation or self-transcendence are particularly attracted by family firms, while those who seek openness to change or self-enhancement are less attracted. Cruz, Firfiray, and Gmez-Meja (2011) proposed to take a socioemotional wealth (SEW) perspective to better understand the (determinants and uniqueness of) HR practices in family firms and formulated propositions to guide future research efforts.

We invite submissions from various disciplines, such as organizational behavior, HRM, organization theory, management, family business or combinations thereof. Contributions can be conceptual (including critical literature reviews or "state-of-the-art" articles) and/or empirical (qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods). The special issue aims to critically review and advance theorizations and methodological applications to the study of managing and developing human resources in a family business context, highlighting the relevance of different theories in advancing our knowledge of HR issues in family firms. Papers which adopt innovative approaches or challenge our understanding of family business and HRM are welcome. Action research papers with an intervention focus are also welcomed. Review papers as well as empirical and theoretical papers will be considered.

We welcome papers that represent the theme of the special issue: Human Resources and Mutual Gains in Family Firms. Possible topics/questions include, but are not limited to the following:

- How and when are HR practices and policies in family firms likely to contribute to mutuality in employment relationships and the management of human resources?

- How do families and family dynamics affect key HR issues and practices? How and when do SEW motivated objectives contribute to or hamper mutuality in the employment relationship?

- How are employees attracted, motivated, trained and retained in family firms? How does this impact employees? well-being/flourishing and performance indicators of the family firm?

- What reward and compensation systems are chosen, developed, and used in family firms? How do these systems affect motivation/well-being/flourishing and firm performance indicators?

- How do family firms invest in people?s psychological resource capacities of self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and resilience, and how is this linked to indicators of performance or (sustained) competitive advantage?

- What kind of HRM practices are likely to be (uniquely) found in family firms, and why? What is their impact on mutuality in the employment relationship?

- How does family heterogeneity shape family business HR practices and outcomes?

- In what ways, and by whom, is the HRM function enacted in family firms? Is there a difference with non-family firms?

- How do family firms manage industrial relations (constructively)? Can we find family firms unique features shaping these relationships?

Meet the Guest Editors and Paper Development Workshop
The guest editors of this Special Issue are available for informal meetings with interested authors at the following conferences: Annual EURAM Conference 2018 and IFERA World Conference 2018. They are organizing a paper development workshop early February 2019, location to be announced. Please note that participation in the workshop does not guarantee final acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue. Furthermore, attendance of the workshop is not a prerequisite for publication.

Timeline and Submission Information
Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2019. All articles for this Special Issue must be submitted online via the EVISE system at Submissions must follow the manuscript guidelines of JFBS available from this same link (see the "Guide for Authors" link at the top of the page). Authors should clearly indicate in their cover letter that the manuscript is for the Special Issue "Human Resources" and choose "SI-Human Resources" as article type upon submission.

All articles will be subject to the standard JFBS double-blind review process. For questions regarding this Special Issue, please contact any of the guest editors: Luca Gnan ( or Frank Lambrechts (

About the Journal
The Journal of Family Business Strategy (JFBS) publishes research that contributes new knowledge and understanding to the field of family business. The Journal is interdisciplinary and international in scope and welcomes submissions that address all aspects of how family influences business and business influences family. JFBS publishes quantitative research as well as qualitative work and purely theoretical or conceptual papers. Further details on JFBS can be obtained from or by contacting the Editor-in-Chief, Torsten Pieper, via

Argyris, C. (1964). Integrating the individual and the organization. New York: Wiley.?
Astrachan, J. H., & Kolenko, T. H. (1994). A neglected factor explaining family business success: Human resource practices. Family Business Review 7(3), 251-262.
Barnett, T., & Kellermanns, F. W. (2006). Are we family and are we treated as family? Nonfamily employees? perceptions of justice in the family firm. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 30(6), 837-854.
Beer, M., Boselie, P., & Brewster, C. (2015). Back to the Future: Implications for the field of HRM of the multistakeholder perspective proposed 30 years ago. Human Resource Management, 54(3), 427-438.
Boxall, P. (2013). Mutuality in the management of human resources: Assessing the quality of alignment in employment relationships. Human Resource Management Journal, 23(1), 3-17.
Cruz, C., Firfiray, S., & Gmez-Meja, L. R. (2011). Socioemotional wealth and human resource management (HRM) in family-controlled firms. In: A. Joshi, H. Liao, & J. J. Martocchio (Eds.), Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (pp. 159-217). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Edgar, F., Geare, A., Zhang, J. A., & McAndrew, I. (2015). Mutual gains or conflicting outcomes? How HRM benefits professionals. International Journal of Manpower, 36(8), 1248-1265.
de Kok, J. M. P., Uhlaner, L. M., & Thurik, A. R. (2006). Professional HRM practices in family owned-managed enterprises. Journal of Small Business Management, 44, 441-460.
Guest, D. E. (2017). Human resource management and employee well-being: Towards a new analytic framework. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(1), 22-38.
Hauswald, H., Hack, A., Kellermanns, F. W., & Patzelt, H. (2016). Attracting new talent to family firms: Who is attracted and under what conditions? Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 40(5), 963-989.
Lansberg, I. S. (1983). Managing human resources in family firms: The problem of institutional overlap. Organizational Dynamics, 12(1), 39-46.
McCann, J. E., Leon-Guerrero, A. Y., & Hailey, J. D. Jr. (2001). Strategic goals and practices of innovative family businesses. Journal of Small Business Management, 39(1), 50-59.
Valizade, D., Ogbonnaya, C., Tregaskis, O., & Forde, C. (2016). A mutual gains perspective on workplace partnership: Employee outcomes and the mediating role of the employment relations climate. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(3), 351-368.
Verleysen, B., Lambrechts, F., & Van Acker, F. (2015). Building psychological capital with appreciative inquiry: Investigating the mediating role of basic psychological need satisfaction. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 51(1), 10-35.
Warr, P. (1987). Work, unemployment, and mental health. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Important Dates:
Manuscripts due by: April 30, 2019
First round of reviews: June 30, 2019
First round of revised papers: October 30, 2019
Second round of reviews: December 30, 2019
Second round of revised papers: March 30, 2020
Notification to authors: 30 May, 2020
Final versions due by: 30 July, 2020
Tentative publication of the Special Issue: September 1, 2020