Munich Personal RePEc Archive

'The employees are all equal... but some are more equals than others'. Altruism, opportunism and discrimination in family SMEs

Ferrari, Filippo (2013): 'The employees are all equal... but some are more equals than others'. Altruism, opportunism and discrimination in family SMEs.

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Abstract

This article provides empirical evidence to support the Agency Theory as applied to small and medium-sized family firms. The research, conducted on a sample of SMEs (N = 88), has investigated the main elements of the Agency Theory ( type of contract, agent autonomy, mechanisms of resource distribution, the match between job assignment and worker skills, the overall level of perceived organizational justice), using a qualitative method. The literature suggests that altruism of the Principal as a parent and widespread opportunistic behavior by the Agent are confirmed phenomena typical of family SMEs. In addition, the research highlights the implications in terms of agency costs and perceived organizational justice on the part of employees who are not members of the family

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