Centre for Family Business
We are an internationally-recognised, research-led, teaching and engagement Centre that collaborates to inspire and support the better management of family firms.
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About this Centre
We are an active community of international scholars and family businesses developing global resources to bring new and meaningful insights to advance the business practice of small and medium-sized family firms.
Our main activities include cutting-edge research projects addressing a range of issues from the dynamics of family businesses to innovation and growth strategies, power, discretion and capabilities to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. We help family businesses tackle questions like - are the children really interested, how can we diversify to accommodate different family interests and employment expectations. And we make our research knowledge useable and accessible for family SMES, especially in the areas of goal setting and succession planning.
We also offer executive programmes and workshops with contributions from the knowledge transfer team, and collaborations that connect scholars and businesses around the world with each other. And we participate in world conferences, presenting papers.
By working in this way, with businesses, and associations like the Institute for Family Business and the Work Foundation, we can tackle important issues.
A full list of our partners can be found at the bottom of this page, as well as our research areas and publications.
To be at the forefront of family business research and thinking. To achieve our mission, we produce insights for family businesses practitioners, researchers and policy makers in areas such as entrepreneurship, strategy, values, growth, leadership, sustainability, gender, succession and legacy.
What can business school teach a family firm?
It could be said that Ramon Roqueta was born to make wine. He is the fifth generation of his family to run Roqueta Origen, a group of wineries in Catalonia, north-east Spain. In 1898, his great-great grandfather established the first of the family’s four wineries, but the business’s origins date back even further.
International Women's Day 2021
Gender equality is a global concern and one of the UN sustainable development goals, yet women continue to be under-represented in positions of power in organisations in the UK and globally.
In this special International Women's Day 2021 research event, The Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership teamed up with the Centre for Family Business on the theme of 'Achieving Gender Equality at Work in a Global Context; challenges and pathways.' Facilitated by Professor Ellie Hamilton, short presentations from Professor Valerie Stead, Dr Sophie Alkhaled and Dr Giovanna Campopiano each took a different perspective ranging from the broad organisational context to entrepreneurship and family business.
You can watch the presentations below.
Our Research Themes
The quality of our research is renowned, with more than 20 prestigious honours and awards over the past four years. It has led to several papers being published in top international academic journals, as well as large numbers of research articles, books and book chapters.
Innovation and growth strategies
Family firms are increasingly recognised as an important engine for innovation and growth. Decisions and actions made by family members to innovate their business can create a trade-off or impact.
Our research in this area provides family firms and their managers with consistent and significant guidelines to improve innovation, management and stimulate future growth and performance.
Organisational goals and goal-setting process
Economic and non-economic goals coexist within the family business. 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
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 their resource-allocation and capability development decision-making has strong implications for financial performance.
These decisions are influenced by the power and the discretion of family owners and managers, and by their inherent interests and preferences. Understanding how the power and discretion of family owners and managers influence strategic decision-making 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 and the implications of this for the business. Evidence suggests that 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 goals need to known and attained. Our research aims 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 intra-family 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 family businesses. The second generation can bring experience, both in the family business and in overlapping contexts of learning-in-practice, to bring innovation and change as well as continuity.
Our research investigates the family and the business as overlapping communities of practice. It suggests the complex process of succession might be informed by understanding the importance of this and the 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 this is a result of family entrepreneurial teams, groups of related individuals who engage in entrepreneurial activities. Our research investigates what spurs entrepreneurial team membership, for instance trust and strong identity, and how these teams develop particular attitudes of identifying and pursuing opportunities over time.
Corporate social responsibility and philanthropy
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.
We aim to fill this gap by providing novel insights on how family influence on a business organisation affects corporate social responsibility.
Our research is deeply embedded in our teaching, helping students interested in family business to flourish in their chosen careers. Our undergraduate, master's and PhD programmes include theory, practice and interaction with family business owners to enhance your learning and develop vital business skills.
Connecting with industry
As the largest group of family business researchers in the UK, our members bring together vast expertise in the distinctive goals, processes and management practices that are unique to family firms. We are here to inspire and support the management of family businesses in the North West, providing access to our global research projects and developing innovative programmes to help you achieve your potential. If you'd like to get involved, or join our community, get in touch.
We collaborate with a range of family business practitioners, advisors and academic communities both locally and internationally. Please see below for examples.
An international network of academics, researchers and stakeholders dedicated to the advancement of family business research.
Founded to develop a community of scholars who conduct research into understanding family firms and creating usable knowledge in this field.
A not-for-profit membership organisation that supports and represents the UK's thriving family business sector.
A professional community of engaged management scholars from over 49 countries, offering opportunities to enrich debates over a range of research management themes.
Teresa AldrenResearch Enhancement and Centres Administrator
Centre for Consumption Insights, Centre for Family Business, Centre for Financial Econometrics, Asset Markets and Macroeconomic Policy, Centre for Health Futures, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Centre for Productivity & Efficiency, Centre for Scholarship and Innovation in Management Education, Centre for Technological Futures , Centre for Transport & Logistics (CENTRAL)
Our advisory board includes the following members:
- Professor Sara Carter, University of Glasgow
- Professor James J.Christman, Mississippi State University
- Professor Frank Hoy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Professor Carole Howorth, University of York
- Professor Mattias Nordqvist, Stockholm School of Economics
Business Advisory Panel
- Andrew Beale, Managing Director of Beales Hotels
- Edwin Booth, Chairman of Booths Supermarkets Ltd
- Chris Cox, Managing Director of George Cox & Sons
- Gill Hall, Owner of Butlers Farmhouse Cheese
- Robert Roth, President of RoMan Manufacturing USA
- Daniel McLaughlin, Enterprise Strategy
- Alison Park, Owner of Low Sizergh Barn Ltd
- Mike Roberts, Owner of Frank Roberts & Sons Ltd