Family Business

Centre for Family Business

Developing synergies from research, teaching and close engagement with businesses.

About this Centre

We are committed to achieving excellence in research that contributes new and meaningful knowledge, and produces impactful implications for the business practice of small and medium-sized family firms. At the forefront of family business research and thinking, we are leading an active community of scholars and family businesses in developing global resources to promote the international exchange of ideas.

 

Our Mission

We inspire and support better management of family firms through our international, collaborative, and multidisciplinary research on the distinctive organisational goals, processes and outcomes engendered by family influence on businesses.

Our Research Themes

We're renowned for the quality of our research, achieving more than 20 prestigious honours and awards over the past four years. Through our research projects, we've had several papers published in top international academic journals, as well as large numbers of research articles, books and book chapters.

Innovation and growth strategies

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.

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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.

People structure

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 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.

structure

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.

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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 the importance of the nature and extent of participation in the family business over time. 

Learning

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.

Team Dynamics

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.

Our research aims at filling this gap by providing novel insights on how family influence on a business organisation affects corporate social responsibility.

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Teaching

Our research is deeply embedded in our teaching, helping students interested in family business to flourish in their chosen careers. Our undergraduate, masters and PhD programmes include theory, practice and interaction with family business owners to enhance your learning and develop vital business skills.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

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're 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, please get in touch.

Current Activity

Our Partners

We have collaborative links with a range of family business practitioners, advisors and academic communities both locally and internationally, such as those below.

Publications

People

Centre Directors

Centre for Family Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

+44 (0)1524 594057 C065, C - Floor, Management School

Centre for Family Business

+44 (0)1524 594045 C073, C - Floor, Management School

Research Team

Centre for Family Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Centre for Family Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

+44 (0)1524 593916 C112, C - Floor, Management School

Dr Qihai Huang

Casual - Teaching

Centre for Family Business, Lancaster China Management Centre, People, Work and Organisation

C053, C - Floor, Management School

Centre for Family Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Latin America Research Cluster

+44 (0)1524 510722 C062, C - Floor, Management School

Dr Edward McKeever

Management & Business Development Fellow

Centre for Family Business

+44 (0)1524 510702 C055, C - Floor, Management School

Dr Innan Sasaki

Lecturer in Strategic Management

Centre for Family Business

+44 (0)1524 593652

Centre for Family Business

Centre Administrator

Teresa Aldren

Research Centres Administrator, Administrator

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

+44 (0)1524 510906 B003a, B - Floor, Management School
  • Advisory Board

    Our advisory board includes the following members:

    • Professor Sara Carter, University of Strathclyde
    • Professor James J.Christman, MIssissippi State University
    • Professor Frank Hoy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    • Professor Carole Howarth, Bradford University School of Management
    • Professor Mattias Nordqvist, Jönköping International Business School
    • Mike Wright, Imperial College Business School
  • 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
    • Dr Joseph Horak, Director of Family Owned Business Institute, Grand Valley State University
    • 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