Small Business Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 39–55 | Cite as

The entrepreneurial orientation–performance relationship in private family firms: the moderating role of socioemotional wealth

  • Jelle Schepers
  • Wim VoordeckersEmail author
  • Tensie Steijvers
  • Eddy Laveren


Drawing on socioemotional wealth (SEW) literature, this paper revisits the established entrepreneurial orientation (EO)–performance relationship in a family business context. The main idea in entrepreneurship literature is that EO leads to increased firm performance. We question this logic in a family business context because family related non-financial goals, like SEW, may prevent the firm to reap the fruits of their entrepreneurial efforts. Specifically, we argue that SEW engenders inefficiencies that place constraints on the realization of the benefits of entrepreneurship. Therefore, we propose that a high level of SEW preservation hinders the transmission of the family firm’s EO into positive performance effects. To test this hypothesis, an empirical study was developed using a sample of 232 Belgian private family firms. Robust linear regression analysis reveals that the positive effect of EO on financial performance decreases as the level of SEW preservation increases.


Entrepreneurial orientation Private family firms Socioemotional wealth Firm performance 

JEL Classifications

L21 L25 L26 



This research was partially funded by the National Bank of Belgium.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelle Schepers
    • 1
  • Wim Voordeckers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tensie Steijvers
    • 1
  • Eddy Laveren
    • 2
  1. 1.Kizok Research CenterHasselt UniversityHasseltBelgium
  2. 2.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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