Crisis management in family firms: do religion and secularization of family decision-makers? matter?
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Purpose - The unique dynamics of family firms (FFs) shape the management of financial crises. Religious and secular reasons, as a defining characteristic of this type of firm, provide a reference system for key management decisions. This paper aims to explore the under-researched topic of differences in FFs' crisis management between religious and secular family decision-makers (FDMs), considering secularization in developed countries.
Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on a qualitative-empirical study of 14 large FFs from the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), through both a media analysis and semi-structured interviews with FDMs who have significant influence on key management decisions.
Findings - Despite secularization, religion continues to influence managerial decisions such as crisis management in the DACH region. The findings show that crisis management differs across religious and secular FDMs, demonstrating the substantial impact of religious and secular reasons on operational and financial measures. Thus, religious and secular reasons may partially explain the complex and ambivalent crisis management of FFs. This indicates that religion shapes FF's key management decisions in the increasingly secularized DACH region. Religious FDMs are accountable to both the firm and to God, which fosters their own personal and financial resources during crisis management.
Originality/value - This paper contributes to the existing literature by exploring the impact of religion and secularization within developed countries. Further, it offers deeper insights into FF's crisis management and is one of the first studies to assess the impact of religion and secularization on operational and financial measures. This research derives five propositions for further research and discusses a broad range of original implications for theory and practice.