Artificial intelligence in small and medium-sized family firms: An empirical study on the impact of family influence

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Patrick Ulrich ORCID logo, Vanessa Frank, Ricardo Buettner

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most important technologies of the future (Crew, 2020). So far, however, AI has been insufficiently deployed. This applies not only to family businesses, but especially to them. In terms of decision-making, these companies have a number of specific characteristics which mean that they find AI less relevant and may also be skeptical. The article discusses specifics of AI use in family businesses on the basis of a German empirical study. The paper shows that family businesses use AI less frequently and are also less open to the technology than non-family businesses. Socioemotional wealth (SEW) (Gómez-Mejia et al., 2007) serves as the theoretical basis. Based on the SEW, it is argued that although family businesses are aware of the need to apply new theories, they have so far underestimated the potentials and tend to be rather skeptical about applying these technologies. This view is supported by the empirical study. In addition, some differences between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies are also discussed in the paper.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Socioemotional Wealth, Family Firms, Empirical Study

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization — P.U.; Methodology — P.U.; Formal Analysis — P.U. and V.F.; Writing — Original Draft — P.U.; Writing — Review & Editing — P.U., V.F., and R.B.; Visualization — P.U. and V.F.; Supervision — P.U., V.F., and R.B.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

JEL Classification: M00, M15, M40

Received: 03.05.2022
Accepted: 01.02.2023
Published online: 03.02.2023

How to cite this paper: Ulrich, P., Frank, V., & Buettner, R. (2023). Artificial intelligence in small and medium-sized family firms: An empirical study on the impact of family influence. Corporate Governance and Organizational Behavior Review, 7(1), 72–80.