The Impact of Socioemotional Wealth (SEW) on the Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) and Succession Planning (SP) of Family SMEs in Saudi Arabia

Dalal Alrubaishi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

634 Downloads (Pure)


Based on a sample of Saudi family SMEs, this quantitative empirical study investigates the noneconomic driver represented by socioemotional wealth (SEW) on entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and succession planning (SP) of family firms. As a new perspective in family business research, SEW pertains to the noneconomic aspects of family firms and reflects both positive and negative consequences of these noneconomic aspects. Since SEW is found to be the most distinguishable feature underlying the behaviour of family firms, this study provides insight into the impact of SEW on two important factors for the continuity of family firms: entrepreneurship and succession. A stratified random sample was obtained from firms registered with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce. Both online and delivery-and-collection questionnaires were utilised, and a key informant approach was adopted. A t-test and a combination of OLS, logistic, and probit regression were performed to test the research hypotheses. Findings suggest that SEW is advantageous to the EO of family firms. Family firms with high SEW levels tend to be more entrepreneurial than family firms with low SEW levels. The various dimensions of SEW were found to have both positive and negative effects on the SP of family firms. The research contributes to the family business literature by investigating the behavioural drivers of EO in family firms, thus helping to resolve the issue of why some family businesses are entrepreneurial while others are not. The underlying driver of entrepreneurship and succession in family business, to the researcher’s knowledge, has never been studied from a noneconomic perspective. Thus, the research addresses this perceived gap in the literature. Furthermore, the research makes a first-time methodological contribution by verifying the FIBER dimensions of SEW, as proposed by Berrone et al. (2012), and assessing their internal consistency, thus addressing the typical inference or inconsistent measurement of the SEW construct in the literature. Finally, instead of comparing family to non-family businesses, this research contributes to the heterogeneity of family firms by illustrating the variations of SEW among family firms. This study opens new avenues of research by demonstrating the importance of the noneconomic aspects in family firms to their entrepreneurial behaviour and succession, as well as asserting the homogeneity among family firms and across generations.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Robson, Paul, Supervisor
  • Doern, Rachel, Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Nov 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • family firms, socioemotional wealth, entrepreneurial orientation, succession, Saudi Arabia

Cite this