Areas of strategic intent

As an academic community, we have united to provide rigorous empirical and field research on important topics and themes, including:

Innovation and growth strategies in family business

Due to their ubiquity, family firms are increasingly recognised as an important engine for innovation and growth. Decisions and actions related to innovation engender important trade-offs for family firms, but are also important for the firms’ viability and are hence key to preserving good performance in the long term. Our research highlights the conditions that could enable family firms to achieve or prevent them from attaining the potential benefits of innovation and consequently provides family firms and their managers with consistent and significant guidelines to improve innovation management and stimulate future growth and performance.

Family business organisational goals and goal-setting process

Economic and non-economic goals coexist within the family business. Consequently, family firm managers must be able to balance family and business needs and priorities. Our research focuses on the goal formulation processes through which individual goals are transformed to shared organisational goals in family businesses.

Power, discretion and capabilities in family business

Recent research shows that some family firms outperform their non-family counterparts, yet others perform poorly. Different types of family firms exist and the nature of the resource-allocation and capability development decisions made by the family businesses have strong implications for financial performance. These decisions are influenced by the power and the discretion of family owners and managers, but also by their inherent interests and preferences. Understanding how the power and discretion of family owners and managers influence strategic decision-making in family firms is crucial for identifying the drivers of family firms' competitive advantages and performance.

Intrafamily succession and leadership development

A key issue affecting family businesses is the transfer of the business between generations of the family and the implications of this for the business. Evidence suggests that only about one third of family firms successfully make the transition from the first generation to the second. For a succession to be successful, the family’s intended goals for succession have to be known and attained. The aim of our research is to understand the factors that prevent or enable the transfer of ownership and leadership from one family member to another and the drivers that support successful intrafamily successions.

Family entrepreneurship and intergenerational learning

The aim of our research is to show how entrepreneurial learning is socially situated and embedded in everyday practice in the context of family business. The experience of the second generation both in the family business and in overlapping contexts of learning-in-practice brings innovation and change as well as continuity. Our research investigates the family and the business as overlapping communities of practice, as sites of practice-based knowledge, suggesting that the complex process of succession might be informed by understanding of the importance of the nature and extent of participation in the family business over time.

Dynamics of family entrepreneurial teams

There is increasing evidence that, throughout the world, several family members in business may come together to expand their existing business or join forces to develop various ventures over time. We often find that entrepreneurial activity by families in business can be the result of family entrepreneurial teams, which represent groups of related individuals who engage in entrepreneurial activities. Our research devotes its attention to investigate the aspects of family firms spurring entrepreneurial teams membership, such as trust and strong identity, and how these teams develop particular attitudes of identifying and pursuing opportunities over time.

Corporate social responsibility and philanthropy in family business

Family firms are ubiquitous and play a crucial role across all world economies, but how they differ in their social and environmental actions has been largely overlooked in the literature. Our research aims at filling this gap by providing novel insights on how family influence on a business organisation affects corporate social responsibility.