Research themes

Research at the Centre for Family Business is grouped under the following themes:

Transgenerational entrepreneurship

Research examines how successful family firms transfer skills and knowledge across generations. This includes a global study of successful transgenerational entrepreneurship practices with academics and leading business families from around the world who have joined as partners on the STEP Project. Research also examines intergenerational learning.


It is often said that innovation is crucial to the survival of firms. Family firms tend to be older than non-family firms and many of the longest surviving firms are family-owned or -controlled. It is crucial to understand how family firms continue to sustain innovation across generations.


Much previous research in the family business context has tended to group family businesses together and compare their performance to non-family businesses. Research has shown that different types of family firms can be identified and that high-performing family firms are an outlier group that differ in size, ownership and management structures from the stereotypical ‘average’ family firm. Current research is studying the factors associated with performance.


Successful families in business balance the social values of family and the performance objectives of business. Research examines how this influences the longevity and performance of business and how it impacts on social responsibility.


It has been argued that women represent a hidden resource for family businesses and their contribution often goes unrecorded. Research examines the role of gender in family businesses.

Family business groups

Many families own and manage a portfolio of businesses. Research examines how these 'families in business' identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities.

Staff researching these areas include Allan Discua Cruz, Ellie HamiltonMary Rose, Alfredo De Massis and Josip Kotlar.

The Institute for Family Business UK Family Business Report, 2008, provides further insight into the size, scope and breadth of the family business sector.