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The state of the art in sustainability of Central-Eastern European family firms: Systematic literature review


Objective: The aim of the systematic literature review was to assess the state of the art in sustainability and trajectories in Central-Eastern European family firms, identify the research gaps, and delineate future research avenues.

Research Design & Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review of 30 articles from the Web of Science and Scopus that address the subject of sustainability in Central-Eastern European family firms. To identify the state of the art, analysis of keywords co-occurrence was employed as an analytical tool, using Biblioshiny software.

Findings: We identified the most influential journals and subject areas. The research allowed for the identification of seven consistent clusters, which prove the great variety of topics in the discussion on the sustainability of family firms in Central-Eastern Europe. The findings showed vast dispersion of research interests and a lack of a single, accurate or dominant research area addressing the phenomenon in this region. Additionally, our findings revealed that the results reported in CEE countries are only partly consistent with the findings presented in Western literature or referenced in other, economically well-developed regions.

Implications & Recommendations: We recommend further research on the specific characteristics of family firms and their impact on sustainable development. Moreover, the lack of comparative studies on family and non-family businesses should be addressed. There is also a need to include the cultural context of Central-Eastern Europe countries in research.

Contribution & Value Added: Our systematic literature review systematizes the existing literature on the sustainability of family firms in Central-Eastern Europe, isolates main research interests, identifies future research avenues, and provides several important hints for researchers.


family firms, sustainable development, Central-Eastern Europe, systematic literature review, socioemotional wealth, CSR


Author Biography

Ada Domańska

Ada Domańska is a Doctor of Economics and Assistant Professor at the Department of Banking and Financial Markets, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Her research interests include family firms, sustainable development, and entrepreneurship.

Agnieszka Gryglicka

Agnieszka Gryglicka is a PhD Student in Economics and Finance at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Her research interests include family firms, business models of family firms, structure and financing of healthcare systems, and strategic analysis.

Olga Martyniuk

Olga Martyniuk is a Doctor of Economics and Assistant Professor at the Department of Corporate Finance, University of Gdańsk, Poland. Her main research interests are family businesses, corporate governance, financial reporting (financial and non-financial), and financial management in SMEs.

Ewa Więcek-Janka

Ewa Więcek-Janka is an Associate Professor at the Department of Marketing and Organisational Development, Faculty of Management Engineering at Poznan University of Technology in Poznan. Her main research interests are family businesses, the psychological aspect of organisational development, and qualitative research methods.

Robert Zajkowski

Robert Zajkowski is an Associate Professor at the Department of Banking and Financial Markets, Faculty of Economics at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. His main research interests are family businesses, corporate finance and governance, VBM, business creation processes, optimization of managerial decisions in companies, and implementation of qualitative and quantitative research methods.


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