How vulnerability enriches family firm relationships: a social exchange perspective

Mathew Hayward, Richard Hunt, Danny Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Vulnerability is a defining and fundamental but under-researched, quality of many family firms. We define family vulnerability (FV) as the degree to which family owners and executives realistically perceive that they and their firms are susceptible to material and socioemotional losses from their ventures. Building on social exchange theory, we offer a model that specifies conditions by which FV allows family firm owner-managers to establish mutually beneficial and enduring relationships with prospective resource providers. These relationships improve strategic options for such parties who gain support when they most need it and are more committed and loyal to those who provide it, thereby engendering goodwill and social capital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100450
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Business Strategy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Family firms
  • Social capital
  • Social exchange
  • Vulnerability

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