Agency, stewardship and the universal-family firm: a qualitative historical analysis

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This paper introduces the idea of a non-kinship-based Universal-family firm, an organizational form we developed based on interpreting historical writings in their socio-economic context. We analyzed Luke’s gospel with an eye toward drawing implications for the stewardship-agency debate in the contemporary family business literature. Our paper makes contributions at two important levels. In addition to introducing and developing theory about the Universal-family firms, we also contribute to the methodological toolkit of family business scholars by providing a template for using historical documents to challenge, enhance and develop theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-331
Number of pages20
JournalFamily Business Review
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • family business
  • Gospel of Luke
  • value capture
  • value creation
  • agency
  • stewardship


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