Digital Τransformation in Family Businesses: A Systematic Literature Review and Research Agenda




Digital transformation, Family firms, Systematic Literature Review


Digital transformation has become a necessity for many organizations, including family firms. Understanding the role and impact of digital transformation is crucial to guarantee family firms' survival and long-term prosperity in an uncertain and constantly developing environment. This study aims to synthesize the limited existing body of knowledge on digital transformation in family firms and identify future research directions. We employed a systematic literature review to address the goals and identified 30 relevant peer-reviewed papers published between 2019 and 2023. The limited number of existing family firm studies indicates the nascent state of research in this area and highlights the increasing research need in the rapidly expanding and evolving field of digital transformation and digitalization. The studies identify and provide insights into the drivers, challenges, strategies, and outcomes of the digital transformation process in family firms. Moreover, the review highlights challenges family firms face during digital transformation, such as the development, activation, or reconfiguration of new and existing capabilities and the deployment of resources by the family. Based on the findings, this systematic literature review identifies several promising avenues for future research. Within the particularities of the family business context, these include the role of family influence, possible antecedents to the process, enablers and barriers, explanatory mechanisms, and performance outcomes and implications. Although the number of identified studies is relatively limited, this review contributes to the literature by consolidating the current knowledge on digital transformation in family firms and highlighting areas for further investigation. Practitioners and policymakers can draw insights from this review to inform their decision-making processes regarding digital transformation strategies for family firms. Researchers are encouraged to address the identified research directions to advance our understanding of issues related to digital transformation in family firms and pave the way for future theoretical and practical advancements.