Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Vardaman, James M.

Committee Member

Chrisman, James J.

Committee Member

Singh, Kulraj

Committee Member

Templeton, Laura M.

Committee Member

Marett, Kent

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 3 Years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Business Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


This study focuses on the hiring of nonfamily employees in family firms. Research to date has emphasized the challenges family firms confront in attracting and selecting quality nonfamily human capital. This literature has emphasized the limitations these firms face due to the information asymmetries common to the hiring process. However, this research has not considered the advantages available to family firms through their social network. Drawing on agency theory, I hypothesize that owner referral utilization mediates the relationship between family essence and firm performance because their use lessens the agency conflicts between owners and nonfamily members. Utilizing a sample of 194 family owners, my analysis shows that the utilization of owner referrals mediates the relationship between family essence and firm performance.