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More than three decades ago, Gersick (1990, p. 119) suggested that “we are just beginning to understand the role of women in family businesses; their influence and contribution have not received the attention they deserve; and the survivability of many family businesses in the future will depend on more awareness of, and more options for, women”. In his quotes, the editor invites us to consider the contributions of women’s involvement in family firms (FF). He describes women as the protectors of FFs’ continuity.
The involvement of women on FF boards is an important topic to explore (Bettinelli et al., 2019), and is associated with several benefits. This stream of research has established what women board members bring to the firm: their background, experience, qualifications and connections. All of these influence a variety of firm outcomes (Maseda et al., 2021). However, to our knowledge, there has been little research on women as FF board members and their role in family business succession.
The succession process is a cornerstone of FF survival (Umans et al., 2020). Longevity and sustainability are the most crucial strengths stimulating FF development. Behind these strengths, women’s contributions are considered factors helping to sustain FFs (Cole, 1997; Jimenez, 2009). Being part of the FF, and particularly members of the board of directors, they affect the board’s roles. One of the legal duties of the board of directors is to manage leadership succession and FF continuity as a result (Uman…


The benefit of gender diversity on the corporate boards of family firms (FFs) continues to receive growing interest. In this paper, we examine the goals of women who hold a position on the board of directors at FFs. Goal setting has been used to identify what they want to accomplish here. How do they make a difference? This question is answered through the theoretical lens of socio-emotional wealth (SEW) and goal setting. We contribute to the literature supporting gender-diverse board composition, emphasizing the goals associated with women on FF boards, and highlighting their role in family business succession.
Drawing on SEW and goal setting theory, this study examines how women’s goals influence succession. Driven by the research question, our data bring together three categories of goals pursued by women in the boardroom.

  • board of directors of family firms
  • gender diversity
  • goal setting
  • socio-emotional wealth
  • succession

L’avantage de la diversité des genres dans les conseils d’administration des entreprises familiales (EF) continue de susciter un intérêt croissant. Dans cet article, nous examinons les objectifs des femmes qui occupent un poste au sein du conseil d’administration d’une entreprise familiale. La fixation d’objectifs a été utilisée pour identifier ce qu’elles veulent accomplir ici. Comment font-elles la différence ? Nous répondons à cette question à travers le prisme théorique de la richesse socio-émotionnelle (SEW) et de la fixation d’objectifs. Nous contribuons à la littérature soutenant la diversité de genre dans la composition de conseils d’administration, soulignant les objectifs associés aux femmes dans les conseils d’administration des EF, et mettant en évidence leur rôle dans la succession des entreprises familiales.
En s’appuyant sur la théorie du SEW et de la fixation d’objectifs, cette étude examine comment les objectifs des femmes influencent la succession. Guidées par la question de recherche, nos données rassemblent trois catégories d’objectifs poursuivis par les femmes dans les conseils d’administration.

  • conseil d’administration des entreprises familiales
  • diversité de genre
  • fixation d’objectifs
  • richesse socio-émotionnelle
  • succession
Soumaya El Hayek Sfeir
Excelia Business School, CERIIM, France
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