How do labor market institutions influence the preference to work in family firms? A multilevel analysis across 40 countries

Jorn Block, Christian O. Fisch, James Lau, Martin Obschonka, André Presse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Family firms must attract talented employees to stay competitive. They have different employer characteristics than nonfamily firms. For example, although they generally offer lower wages, they also typically offer higher job security and a more cooperative and entrepreneurial work environment. However, drawing on occupational choice theory, we argue that the importance of these unique family firm characteristics depends on the national labor market context in which the family firm is embedded. A multilevel investigation of 12,746 individuals in 40 countries shows that individuals prefer to work in family firms in labor markets with flexible unregulated hiring and firing practices, centralized wage determination, and low labor–employer cooperation. A cross-level analysis further shows that the national labor market context moderates the effects of individual-level factors determining the preference to work in a family firm (e.g., entrepreneurship intention). Our article is the first to consider labor market institutions in research on family firms as employers. Practical implications exist for family firms regarding their employer branding and intrapreneurship strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1093
Number of pages27
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Issue number6
Early online date29 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • cross-country study
  • employer branding
  • family firms
  • labor market institutions
  • occupational choice


Dive into the research topics of 'How do labor market institutions influence the preference to work in family firms? A multilevel analysis across 40 countries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this