Articulating Values Through Identity Work: Advancing Family Business Ethics Research

Research paper by Marleen Dieleman, Juliette Koning

Indexed on: 17 Dec '19Published on: 17 Dec '19Published in: Journal of Business Ethics


Family values are argued to enable ethical family business conduct. However, how these arise, evolve, and how family leaders articulate them is less understood. Using an ‘identity work’ approach, this paper finds that the values underpinning identity work: (1) arise from multiple sources (in our case: religion, culture and sustainability), (2) evolve in tandem with the context; and, (3) that their articulation is relational and aspirational, rather than merely historical. Prior research mostly understood family values as rooted in the past and relatively stable, but our rhetorical analysis unlocks a more dynamic and promising research direction advancing family business ethics.