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Knowledge sharing in small family firms: a leadership perspective.

Cunningham, James; Seaman, Claire; McGuire, David


Claire Seaman

David McGuire


Knowledge sharing is considered critical in the development of a knowledge resource to contribute to the strategic development of the firm. However, how this key organisational activity takes place in small family firms is unknown, as much of the surrounding literature focuses on large, nonfamily-oriented firms. This mixed-methods article investigates the nature of knowledge sharing in small family firms, and explores the role of the influence of family in knowledge resource development. Quantitative findings (n = 110) acknowledge heterogeneity of leadership style in small family firms and identify two distinct ways in which knowledge sharing activities are approached; while qualitative data (n = 26) examine implications for individual knowledge sharing and the role that family plays. This article contributes to both the family business and knowledge sharing literature and outlines implications for the way in which small family firms view the development of their knowledge resource.


CUNNINGHAM, J., SEAMAN, C. and MCGUIRE, D. 2016. Knowledge sharing in small family firms: a leadership perspective. Journal of family business strategy [online], 7(1), pages 34-46. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 18, 2015
Publication Date Mar 31, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 19, 2016
Journal Journal of family business strategy
Print ISSN 1877-8585
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 34-46
Keywords Family firms; Knowledge sharing; Path-goal theory; Mixed-methods; Factor analysis
Public URL


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