Bjuggren, P-O., Nordström, L., & Palmberg, J. (in press). Are female leaders more efficient in family firms than in non-family firms? Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society. DOI: 10.1108/CG-01-2017-0017

Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate whether female leaders are more efficient in family firms than in non-family firms.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses a unique database of ownership and leadership in private Swedish firms that makes it possible to analyze differences in firm performance due to female leadership in family and non-family firms. The analysis is based on survey data merged with micro-level data on Swedish firms. Only firms with five or more employees are included in the analysis. The sample contains more than 1,000 firms.

Findings: The descriptive statistics show that there are many more male than female corporate leaders. However, the regression analysis indicates that female leadership has a much more positive impact on the performance of family firms than on that for non-family firms, where the effect is ambiguous.

Originality/value: Comparative studies examining the impact of female leadership on firm-level performance in family and non-family firms are rare, and those that exist are most often either qualitative or focused on large, listed firms. By investigating the role of female directors in family and non-family firms, the study adds to the literature on management, corporate governance and family firms.