Family ownership and R&D investment: The role of growth opportunities and business group membership

Young Rok Choi, Shaker A. Zahra, Toru Yoshikawa, Bong H. Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This study examines whether the influence of family ownership on R&D investment varies depending on growth opportunities and business group membership. Using data on Korean firms over ten years (1998-2007), the study shows that family ownership is negatively related to R&D investment, but the relationship becomes positive when growth opportunities are present. The moderating effect, however, differs between independent family firms and family business groups. The positive influence that growth opportunities have on promoting R&D investment is diminished for affiliates of family business groups. These findings imply that family owners invest more in R&D when their family control goals are threatened by the loss of growth potential. The empirical results of this study and its behavioral decision-making model help to bridge the gap between the predictions of the family control perspective and agency theory in explaining R&D investment by family firms in an emerging economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1061
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the National University of Singapore (Grant R-535-000-007-133 ).


  • Behavioral decision-making
  • Business groups
  • Family ownership
  • Growth opportunities
  • R&D investment

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