Family businesses in focus at national research conference

A hand moves a wooden block representing a person onto a wooden tree.

Family business researchers and decision-makers from across the UK will tackle issues of crisis and change at a major conference in Lancaster.

The Family Business Research Conference 2024 takes place at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) on Monday, May 20. It will bring together academic experts and business practitioners to address key challenges facing family firms.

The conference, titled Thriving in challenging times: how family businesses navigate crisis, complexity, and uncertainty, is a collaboration between the Family Business Research Foundation, and the Centre for Family Business and the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business in LUMS.

It will focus on the themes of how family businesses navigate crisis, complexity, and uncertainty; and how they respond to social, economic, environmental, and technological change.

Dr Allan Discua Cruz, Director of the Centre for Family Business in LUMS, said: “It is a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with the Family Business Research Foundation and the Pentland Centre to examine these hugely important issues for family businesses.

“We have an established reputation here in Lancaster for the quality of our family business research, and questions such as how these firms tackle crises and how they cope with the ever-changing business and societal landscape are a constant presence in our work. The conference will allow us to explore these topics with leading voices from academia and practice, and discuss how resilience and agility are crucial for building long-term futures.”

Among the topics up for discussion at the conference will be how family businesses are adapting to social and demographic change, changes in health and well-being of the UK population, environmental challenges, changes in the UK labour market and work patterns, and financial crisis, as well as the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues on family firms.

Professor Jan Bebbington, Director of the Pentland Centre, said: “All firms face a volatile business environment as sustainability challenges related to climate change, biodiversity and social inequality become more pressing. The firms at the forefront of navigating challenges and remaining resilient in the face of change are often family-owned businesses.

“We are delighted to partner once again with the Centre for Family Business and the Family Business Research Foundation to advance our understandings of sustainability in business.”

The event will take place in-person in LUMS and will be simultaneously livestreamed. Registration and attendance are free.

To register for the Family Business Research Conference 2024, visit:

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