Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Wanrong Hou

Second Advisor

Dr. Sibin Wu

Third Advisor

Dr. Lakshman Chandrashekhar


The research about family business has received increasing attention. However, the research that focuses on the effect of owner-managers marriage on family firm performance is scarce. In this study, I argue that the family business manager's spouse can affect firm performance through firm-level and individual-level channels. First, I propose that a family business's firm performance is influenced by owner-managers marriage in terms of spousal human, social, and financial capital based on a family capital topology—a firm-level lens. I build a conceptual model of spousal capital in a family business and develop hypotheses. Further, by integrating the complementary needs theory of mate selection and the notion of complementary assets into the research of family business, I contend that three components of spousal capital complement each other. Second, I elaborate on how homogamy and heterogamy in terms of various socioeconomic and psychological factors can affect family business performance through its impact on marital conflict—an individual-level lens. My research extends the extant studies on spousal involvement in new ventures and copreneurs by revealing the strategic significance of marriage. For practitioners, this study suggests that spousal capital is a valuable resource that family firms could potentially leverage. Moreover, family firms can reach out to various resources through the bridge of marriage and obtain a competitive advantage. The implication of this dissertation is from a different perspective, such as theoretical, practical and methodological. It helps us to expand to understand the importance of spouse in family business success and offers new insights for spouse capital literature. It helps family business owners and managers to recognize the importance of marriage (spouse) variables and highlights the importance of studying the effect of family spouse capital on firm performance from the individual and organization level.


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