Organizational aspects of cybersecurity in German family firms – Do opportunities or risks predominate?

Patrick Sven Ulrich, Alice Timmermann, Vanessa Frank
2021 Organizational Cybersecurity Journal: Practice, Process and People  
PurposeThe starting point for the considerations the authors make in this paper are the special features of family businesses in the area of management discussed in the literature. It has been established here that family businesses sometimes choose different organizational setups than nonfamily businesses. This has not yet been investigated for cybersecurity. In the context of cybersecurity, there has been little theoretical or empirical work addressing the question of whether the qualitative
more » ... haracteristics of family businesses have an impact on the understanding of cybersecurity and the organization of cyber risk defense in the companies. Based on theoretically founded hypotheses, a quantitative empirical study was conducted in German companies.Design/methodology/approachThe article is based on a quantitative-empirical survey of 184 companies, the results of which were analyzed using statistical-empirical methods.FindingsThe article asked – based on the subjective perception of cybersecurity and cyber risks – to what extent family businesses are sensitized to the topic and what conclusions they draw from it. An interesting tension emerges: family businesses see their employees more as a security risk, but do less than nonfamily businesses in terms of both training and organizational establishment. Whether this is due to a lack of technical or managerial expertise, or whether family businesses simply think they can prevent cybersecurity with less formal methods such as trust, is open to conjecture, but cannot be demonstrated with the research approach taken here. Qualitative follow-up studies are needed here.Originality/valueThis paper represents the first quantitative survey on cybersecurity with a specific focus on family businesses. It shows tension between awareness, especially of risks emanating from employees, and organizational routines that have not been implemented or established.
doi:10.1108/ocj-03-2021-0010 fatcat:ulbc2oxyenczfivuqexdweemmy