The family firm management literature underrates corporate governance issues both because in family firms the entrepreneur/owner tends to concentrate in his hands almost all the decision power and because the concept of family business is associated with that of small business. On the other hand, the ‘family’ character over firm governance have been traditionally analysed in terms of institutional overlap (family versus business) that causes processes of instability, conflicts, divisions and crisis, both inside the family and between owners and managers.
Our paper, after an extremely literature recap, aims at proposing a different point of view on the corporate governance dynamics in family business and a different path to understand the change processes into this organizations adopting a Situationist View of the Organizations (SVO) that is focused on the continuous work of two processes: action and institutionalization, that build, break and rebuild social reality.
Under this point of view some topics - institutional processes, coalitional games and power dynamics - suggest different considerations about the processes of governance and power. The concept of actor (or strategic actor) is of particular relevance. It refers to an individual (human actor) or, more often, a coalition of individuals able to act strategically for the protection of their specific interests. The concept of strategic actor goes far beyond the organizational boundaries, as often a coalition is composed by both internal and external members.