A matter of control or identity? Family firms' environmental reporting decisions along the corporate life cycle

Claudia Arena*, Giovanna Michelon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

1 Citation (Scopus)


Building on the socioemotional wealth (SEW) perspective, this study explores environmental disclosure (ED) practices in family firms and investigates whether the firm's life cycle stage plays a moderating role in these practices. We focus on two dimensions of the SEW: family control and influence and family identity. To the extent that different types of family-controlled firms have different reporting behaviors based on their primary SEW dimension, they will undertake the ED strategies that allow them to preserve their SEW. Using a sample of listed firms from the Milan Stock Exchange, we show that family firms for which the family control and influence SEW dimension is most salient provide less environmental information than non-family firms and that this effect is weakened along the family firm's life cycle. Our findings also indicate that middle-aged family firms, where the family identity dimension prevails, provide more ED than do non-family firms. Our study contributes to knowledge about how the socioemotional endowment affects family firms' reporting behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1596-1608
Number of pages13
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number8
Early online date11 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018



  • environmental disclosure
  • family firm
  • family ownership
  • firm life cycle
  • socioemotional wealth

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