Family firms, firm characteristics, and corporate social performance: A study of public firms in Japan

Michikazu Aoi, Shigeru Asaba, Keiichi Kubota*, Hitoshi Takehara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore corporate social performance attained by listed family and non-family firms in Japan. They are measured by the composite CSP index and five attributes composed of employ relations, social contributions (SCs), firm security and product safety, internal governance and risk control, and environment concern. Design/methodology/approach – The authors employ univariate and regression analyses on the quantitatively aggregated CSP score data of Japanese firms from 2007 to 2009. Findings – Japan non-family firms tend to perform better than family firms in terms of attaining corporate social performance overall. Family CEOs positively affect CSP in the foods, textiles and apparels, and pharmaceutical industries as well as in retail trade, wholesale, and services industries, but negatively affect CSP in the heavy manufacturing industry. In these industries the joint effect of the percentage of family shareholdings and the fraction of family members on the board also augments the positive role played by family CEO. The findings are robust when the sample is ranked by Tobin’s q. Research limitations/implications – The observation period is short due to the data availability of CSP by Toyo Keizai Inc. This data covers all the listed firms which answered the questionnaire, which may also contain sample selection problems. Practical implications – Positive role of CEO and negative effects of shareholdings among listed family firms in Japan call for attention and corrective measures for top management and family shareholders. Social implications – While family firms in Japan may accumulate socioemotional wealth, they should exert more efforts to advance CSP and create social capital. Originality/value – This is the first comprehensive quantitative study in the field, which explored CSP of all the listed family firms vs non-family firms in Japan with large sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-217
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Family Business Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 12


  • Board membership
  • Corporate social performance
  • Family CEO
  • Family firms in Japan
  • Family shareholdings
  • Tobin’s q

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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