Abstract

Family firms are often thought to pursue nonfinancial goals that provide socioemotional wealth (SEW) (Gómez-Mejía et al., 2007). However, with little consistent or direct measures of SEW, rival explanations and theoretical tensions, especially regarding the emotional nature of SEW’s role across the lifespan of the family firm (Zellweger et al., 2012), are becoming increasingly apparent. Scholars suggest that a more direct understanding of family members’ emotions and goal pursuits could potentially reconcile paradoxical findings regarding SEW’s strength over time (Berrone et al., 2012). In this vein, socioemotional selectivity theory (Carstensen, 1995) speaks to how emotion and time perspective guides goal pursuits over time. By integrating SEW and socioemotional selectivity perspectives we seek to unravel paradoxical findings about whether SEW grows or diminishes over time, answering the question “to what extent do changes in family firm members’ time perspective impact their SEW goal priorities and subsequent decisions?”

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