Heads of family businesses help guide future research

Participants at the Centre for Family Business strategy event

10 July 2014

Successful UK family businesses have been helping to guide Lancaster University Management School research, as part of a two-day strategy event held by the Centre for Family Business.

Sitting as part of a Business Advisory Board, family business owners Edwin Booth (Chairman, Booths Supermarket Ltd), Andrew Beale (Managing Director, Beales Hotels), Chris Cox (Managing Director, George Cox Ltd), Alison Park (Owner, Low Sizergh Barn Ltd), Daniel McLaughlin (Enterprise Strategy, Department for Business Innovation and Skills), and Mark Evans (Managing Director, Coutts Institute), have helped inform the Centre for Family Business as part of a two-day strategy event held in June.

“We want to be good businesses first. Independently of whether we are family-owned or not, it is crucial that we lead sustainable and transparent companies,” said Edwin Booth, Chairman of Booths.

The Centre for Family Business is an internationally-recognised research centre at the Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation of Lancaster University Management School that is dedicated to supporting this highly important sector. Family businesses are the most common form of commercial organisation around the world. Families own a majority stake in 81 per cent of UK unquoted companies. Of these, 79 per cent are explicitly identified as family businesses.

The Centre for Family Business at Lancaster is examining how it will be able to offer the best support to these businesses through world-class academic research and also by business engagement and development of education programs.

The event also heard from a Research Advisory Board comprised of leading family business academics including Professor Frank Hoy (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, U.S), Professor Mike Wright, Professor Jess Chua (Chairman of the Research Advisory Board), Professor Carole Howorth (Bradford University School of Management, UK), and Professor Alfredo De Massis. It also included emerging scholars such as Dr Josip Kotlar (Lecturer in Family Business, Lancaster) and Dr Allan Discua Cruz (Lecturer in Entrepreneurship).

Professor Chua, Chairman of the Research Advisory Board, said that family business research should look at what extent the families are involved in the business and what the outcomes are rather than concentrating on the differences between family businesses and other organisations.

Professor Alfredo De Massis, Director of the Centre for Family Business, said: “This event provided a unique opportunity to catalyse the international exchange of ideas and experiences through a number of events on how family business research can grow and inform practice. Relying on the valuable advice of the Research Advisory Board and the Business Advisory Panel of the Centre for Family Business we sought to build bridges between academia and the business community. This is consistent with the vision of our Centre to inspire and support better management of family firms through our international, collaborative, impactful and multi-disciplinary research on the distinctive organisational goals, processes and outcomes engendered by family influence on businesses.”

The event also gave an opportunity for PhD students to hear from the Editors of leading academic journals about the best ways they can submit papers for publication.