Family Business and Organization Research Course
Family Business Module
Prof. Daniela Montemerlo
Full Professor, Economics Department, University of Insubria
1. The module at a glance: foreword, goals and contents Family business is a relatively young field that basically started at the end of ‘80s. It is a field of outmost relevance, as family firms are the most widespread form of enterprise all over the world. It is intrinsically multi-disciplinary because of the several, possible levels of analysis that include individuals (featuring various roles in turn), firm, ownership, family, industry and economic system. Given the field’s recent history and the nature and multiplicity of its objects and topics, many issues are quite open with a number of consequent challenges and stimuli for scholars.
In this course on Family business research we will discuss some fundamental concepts and ideas on how family business has been investigated so far and can
or should be researched in the future. After taking an overview of the evolution and variety of family business studies, we will deal with some core decision-making issues and related theories. The selected issues concern the role of family and socio-emotional wealth, governance, managerialization and succession. As far as reference theories are concerned, a special focus will be made on agency and stewardship.
2. Teaching methods and requirements
Each session is characterized by a seminar mode, featuring a brief introductory lecture and then students’ presentations and class discussions.
The course implies high involvement and active contributions by participants. For each topic, we will discuss a few selected articles. All articles will be made
available in electronic format.The set of articles for all sessions may include theoretical and empirical works, or both. Students are expected to read every article and to be prepared to present them in class. You can decide within your team who of you is going to present each article.
As far as articles’ preparation is concerned, it may be useful to ask yourself thefollowing questions about each reading:
(1) What are the central theoretical questions addressed? What are the underlying assumptions? (2) What is the (empirical or conceptual) evidence to
support the research questions? How convincing? (3) How has the analysis been designed? (4) How could this analysis be improved? Please be specific and
2 practical (do not make suggestions that you could not realistically envision yourself implementing).
3. Detailed schedule
Session 1. Fundamentals of Family business. The evolution and domain of family business research
Wednesday, May 16th 2018, 14:00 – 17.00
Sharma P., An Overview of the Field of Family Business Studies: Current Status and Directions for the future, Family Business Review, XVII (1),
Sharma P., Chrisman J.J., Gersick K.E., 25 Years of Family Business Review : Reflections on the Past and Perspectives for the Future, Family Business Review XXV(1), 2012, 5-15.
James A.E., Jennings J.E., Breitkreuz R.S., Worlds Apart? Rebridging the Distance Between Family Science and Family Business Research, Family Business Review, XXV (1), 2012, 87–108.
Session 2. Key decision-making issues in family business research: family goals and family business governance
Monday, May 21th, 10:00 – 13.00
Jiang D. S., Kellermanns F. W., Munyon T. P., Morris M.L, More Than Meets the Eye: A Review and Future Directions for the Social Psychology of Socioemotional Wealth, Family Business Review, 2018, Vol. 31(1) 125 – 157.
Montemerlo D., Gnan L., Huse M., Governance systems in family SMEs: the substitution effect of family councils on official mechanisms, Journal of
Small Business Management, 2015, 53(2), 355–381.
Madison K., Kellermanns F.W., and T.P. Munyon, Coexisting Agency and Stewardship Governance in Family Firms: An Empirical Investigation of
Individual-Level and Firm-Level Effects, Family Business Review, 2017, Vol. 30(4) 347 –368.
Session 3. Key decision-making issues in family business research: managerialization and succession
Wednesday, May 30th, 14:00 – 18.00
James A.E., Jennings J.E., and Devereaux Jennings, P., Is It Better to Govern Managers via Agency or Stewardship? Examining Asymmetries by Family
Versus Nonfamily Affiliation, Family Business Review, 2017, Vol. 30(3) 262 –283.
Salvato C., Minichilli A., Piccarreta R,Faster, Route to the CEO Suite: Nepotism or Managerial Proficiency, Family Business Review, XXV(2), 2012, 206–224.
Zellweger T.M., Nason R.S., Nordqvist M., From Longevity of Firms to Transgenerational Entrepreneurship of Families: Introducing Family Entrepreneurial Orientation, Family Business Review, XXV (2), 2012, 136- 155.
Daspit J.J., Holt D.T., Chrisman J.J, Long R.G. , Examining Family Firm Succession From a Social Exchange Perspective: A Multiphase, Multistakeholder Review, Family Business Review, XXIX(1), 2016, 44–64.
4. Overall Course Evaluation
Students will receive one grade for the whole course, i.e. for the two modules together.
The final grade will be based:
– For 60% on class discussion in the FB and Organization modules;
– For 40% on the final assignment. The assignment may consist of two
o a brief research proposal (Times New Roman 12, round 15 pages) specifying, reference theories, RQ, literature review, propositions/hypotheses, methodology and sample and expected contributions on a family business issue. The proposal’s topic will have to be approved by course instructors and it could be either an
Organization or a FB topic, based on course discussions and materials; o a literature review on a specific topic, with indication of the stateof-art and possible developments. The review’s topic will have to be approved by course instructors and it could be either an Organization or a FB topic as well, based on course discussions and materials