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Family Business Research - Topics


During the past decade, family business studies have advanced significantly but research still largely focuses on a limited number of topics and theory development requires ongoing attention. The European Academy of Management with an ad-hoc “Special Interest Group on Family Business Research” aims to be the ideal opportunity to assess the conceptual development, empirical research, and future directions of the FB field.  We envision this SIG about “Family Business Research” as an international arena to attract scholars’ contributions providing new insights on topics that have received significant attention in the past, such as succession, professionalization, conflict, performance dimensions, family processes, and governance, as well as we especially encourage scholars to undertake innovative papers and discussions of topics that have not received much attention but are important in the field, such as family governance systems, relational governance, socioemotional wealth, the role of trust, the role of enterprising families, transgenerational entrepreneurship, innovation, internationalization, etc. 

SIG chair: Andrea Calabrò (Witten Institute for Family Business Witten/Herdecke University, Germany) andrea.calabro@uni-wh.de
Programme chair: Alfredo De Massis (Lancaster University Management School, UK & University of Bergamo, Italy) alfredo.demassis@unibg.it
SIG-Chair Elect: Donata Mussolino. University of Naples Federico II, Italy. dmussoli@unina.it
Treasurer: Rodrigo Basco. Witten Institute for Family Business, Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. rodrigo.Basco@uni-wh.de
Secretary: Mariangela Vecchiarini. Second University of Naples Capua, Italy. mari.vecchiarini@gmail.com
Past Chair: Cristina Cruz. IE Business School, Spain. cristina.cruz@ie.edu

Description of the topics sponsored by the SIG

04_00 Family Business Research - General Track

Track chairs: Andrea Calabrò. Witten/Herdecke University - Germany. andrea.calabro@uni-wh.de
Eddy Laveren. University of Antwerp, Belgium. eddy.laveren@ua.ac.be
Lorraine Uhlaner. EDHEC Business School, France. lorraine.uhlaner@edhec.edu
Thomas Markus Zellweger. University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. thomas.zellweger@unisg.ch

Family-owned firms are one of the foundations of the world’s business community. Their creation, growth and longevity are critical to the success of the global economy. During the past decade, although family business research is progressing in terms of theory building, it still lacks a systematic adoption of thorough and theoretically-based frameworks (Chrisman, Chua, & Sharma, 2003; Sharma, 2004; Zahra & Sharma, 2004). To advance our field we welcome papers investigating one or several dimensions of family businesses, with multi-theoretical and level approach (e.g. management, entrepreneurship, finance, psychology, sociology, etc.) and cross-cultural research. We are particularly interested in advancing “Family Business” as an autonomous Research Field with contributions which offer Rigor to the Academia and Relevance to owner-managers, practitioners and local communities.

Keywords: Family business; Theoretical development; Multi-theoretical and level approach; Empirical issues; Future directions

04_01 Family business governance

Over the last few years research on corporate governance in family businesses has increased significantly providing new insights into the dynamics of governance and decision making in these organizations. Literature about family business is growing extremely fast in view of the number of published articles and scholars who are involved in researching this field. Since research on governance in family businesses has great potential to contribute to the wider field of corporate governance, we aim to create a forum where researchers can explore the many ways research on family business governance can inform and extend the general knowledge on corporate governance. For this track we therefore encourage submissions from a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches that contribute to developing effective research projects to address major theoretical and empirical debates in this area of research.

Keywords: Family business; Corporate governance; Board of directors; Firm performance

Proponents: Donata Mussolino. University of Naples Federico II, Italy. dmussoli@unina.it
Wim Voordeckers. Hasselt University, Belgium
Jolien Huybrechts. Hasselt University, Belgium

04_02 Entrepreneurship and innovation in family firms

The “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Family Firms” track aims to attract contributions which investigate both theoretically and empirically, the differences in the way innovation and entrepreneurial processes takes place in family and non-FBs. In particular, we solicit authors to submit empirical, conceptual, and literature review contributions promising in understanding the process of opportunity recognition, opportunity exploitation, growth and value creation in FBs. Topics of interest which take a focus on the intersection between entrepreneurship and family firm’s research, among others, include but are not restricted to the following ones: 

  • The role of family entrepreneurship in the strategic renewal of the family and the business 
  • The transmission of the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in FBs
  • The impact of family entrepreneurship on the performance of FBs
  • Open and collaborative innovation in FBs
  • Succession and transgenerational innovation in FBs
  • Family ownership, family management and innovation performance

Keywords: Enterprising families; Innovation; R&D; Family firms

Proponents: Alfredo De Massis. Lancaster University Management School  (UK) & University of Bergamo (Italy). alfredo.demassis@unibg.it
Cristina Cruz. IE BUSINESS SCHOOL, Spain
Federico Frattini. POLITECNICO DI MILANO, Italy
Reinhard Prügl Zeppelin University, Germany

04_03 Gender and succession in family business

Management succession has been one of the most relevant subjects of academic research in family business since the 1960s (e.g. Kesner and Sebora, 1994). In this context, individual differences play an important role in order to understand how to plan the succession process in family firm. This topic proposal wants to explore the link between succession and gender diversity on family business, in order to understand possible future directions for the academic debate. Very little has known on the role of owner gender diversity in the succession process and very few studies focus on the baton pass between father and daughter and the related increasing role of women/daughters in the management of family firms. This topic aims to understand the relationship father-daughter in the transition process, through the paradigm of different behavioral approaches, regarding differences and reactions of the two genders in leadership and managerial style. In particular, it is interesting to understand how gender-related issue influences the crucial succession process. In light of these assumptions, this topic welcomes contributions/papers able to shed light on different approaches to the succession process in FBs among male/female successors.

Keywords: Father/Mother-daughter relationship; Gender; Succession; Diversity management

Proponents: Mariavittoria Cicellin. University of Naples Federico II, Italy. mariavittoria.cicellin@unina.it
Mariateresa Torchia. Witten/Herdecke University, Germany
Donata Mussolino. University of Naples Federico II, Italy


Related documents

Detailed topic descriptions - FBR
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