Introduction: Family businesses (FB) contribute significantly to the economy and society in many countries. The study of FB professionalization is relevant since it allows them to achieve efficient management within the organization and obtain higher profits. This research aims to describe and analyse the quantitative evolution of the scientific production of professionalization in the FB from 1980 to 2019, which allows documenting key bibliometric parameters to analyse the subject's main characteristics and profile future research lines.
Method: The articles retrieved from the Web of Science portal, from Clarivate Analytics, provided the primary data to conduct a bibliometric method and content analysis.
Results: The search produced 112 articles, with production peaks in 2013 and 2018. Networks of co-occurrence, citation, and co-authorship are analysed. Family Business Review has the largest publication of articles; however, the Journal of Finance and Quarterly Journal of Economics have a higher impact factor. Anderson and Reeb are the most cited authors. The United States leads in scientific production, Latin American participation, and specifically, Mexico is almost nil.
Discussion and Conclusion: The study of professionalization began as an implicit and supporting factor for the family business's growth. Publications on the subject increased in the last nine years; it has an impact on the profit-making, it is also at the basis of the succession and institutionalization of the organization and plays a role in the continuity of the company and family harmony. Most research focuses on comparing the financial results between a family CEO or an external CEO. However, there is a need to study how to carry out the planning, execution, and evaluation of professionalization. Differences in management for large family businesses, micro-enterprises, little ventures, and their cultural components are broad topics requiring more research. At the international level, the person's profile to efficiently manage the EF is still under discussion, opening the opportunity to investigate these issues in the Mexican context.
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