What motivates environmental and social sustainability in family firms? A cross-cultural survey

William Nikolakis, Doina Olaru, Andreas Kallmuenzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Evidence shows that positive family dynamics can motivate environmental and social strategies (ESS) in family firms. Using a stated choice method, we examine how family conflict, trust and socioemotional wealth (SEW) influence ESS choices and interact with other trade-offs among family firms in two distinct cultural contexts: Chile and India. In Chile, we found that where there was more conflict, there were less ESS choices selected. However, in Chile, higher trust produced less relational conflict and more ESS preferences, suggesting supportive norms and group cohesion in these firms. Chilean respondents selected ESS choices more generally, which may be influenced by cultural dimensions that support sustainability, like uncertainty avoidance, indulgence and collectivism. Formal written sustainability visions in family firms created positive environmental norms in both countries and in Chile led to higher ESS preferences. Indian respondents with higher SEW were more likely to adopt ESS choices. Younger family firms in both countries were more likely to adopt ESS, suggesting generational dynamics and selectivity theory may be at play. Creating safeguards for maintaining positive emotional dynamics and tools for creating formal sustainability visions are important steps for enabling ESS among family firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2351-2364
Number of pages14
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number5
Early online date2 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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