In the paper, authors explain how childhood exposure to the family firm (CEFF) impacts shareholders’ affective commitment (AC) to the firm in later life. The study posits that AC mediates the relationship between shareholders’ transgenerational orientation (TGO) and CEFF, and two factors moderate this mediation relationship: shareholders’ non-manager status and material expectations from the firm. Authors utilize a unique sample of 217 family firm shareholders from 174 family firms to test their hypotheses and find support for them. Accordingly, AC mediates the relationship between CEFF and TGO. Moreover, accounting for differing manifestations of AC, this mediation effect only exists for non-managing shareholders and becomes weaker as non-managing shareholders’ material expectations increase.
Accordingly, the paper concludes that CEFF in the past of shareholders may affect their attitudes toward their family firm in the present by influencing their AC and result in a transgenerational transfer in the future. This also implies that children, although underaged and without economic agency, should not be passive subjects or omitted from family firm research but included in analyses to improve family firm theorization.
The article is published with an Open Access license agreement and can be accessed for free under the following link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00472778.2023.2246060