It has been suggested in the family business literature that the pursuit of socioemotional wealth (SEW) has both a bright and dark side and these conflicting priorities can have a negative impact on the quality of decisions made by family managers. This paper presents a model which recognizes that ambivalence emanating from socioemotional wealth may also lead to high calibre decision-making under certain contexts. In particular, we explain how emotional ambivalence can affect the decision-making abilities of family managers. Although emotional complexity and the resulting ambivalence is seen as an undesirable situation, we argue that this could also result in positive outcomes under certain circumstances. More specifically, emotional ambivalence prompts leaders to adopt a broader perspective and consider several alternatives before reaching a decision, hence enhancing decision-making quality. However, we acknowledge that emotional ambivalence may also lead to an overly restrictive focus on the family’s interests occasionally leading to inferior family-centric decisions.
- family firms
- socioemotional wealth