Family businesses are one of the most dominant forms of organization around the world (with roughly 70-90% of all firms being family-influenced). The aim of this course is to study how family firms differ from non-family firms. The focus will thereby be on issues related to leading or managing a family firm. The course we will focus on how to successfully lead family businesses in the 21st century.
In particular, the course covers the following topics:
1 Introduction and brief overview of family businesses:
o Term definition, meaning, and characteristics of family businesses
o Differences between family businesses and non-family businesses, especially in relation to goals, long-term orientation, structure, and resources
o Theories to explain family firm behavior in general.
2 Leadership in family firms:
o Leadership styles
o Family vs. non-family CEOs
o Employee motivation
3 Transgenerational entrepreneurship in family firms:
o Innovation behavior of family firms
o Adaptation to disruptive changes
o Entrepreneurship across generations
4 Strategic management and governance:
o “Organization” of the family
o Strategic orientation and risk
The in-class sessions will take placeduring the first quarter of the term. Additionally, students will conduct a group consulting project with a family business which will span over the first two quaters/the entire first semester. Each group will choose one specific family firm (preferably from their own network or with the support of the chair) and analyze this company with regards to family firm strengths and weaknesses, growth potential, leadership, transgenerational entrepreneurship, succession, and strategic management/governance.
Individual coaching sessions with the professor during the second quarter will help students to achieve their learning goals and ensure the advancement of the group project. The course will conclude with the students' presentation of their project results and a concluding presentation on "leading the family business."
This course is relevant for all students, who aim to work in their own family business, to work in another family business as a non-family manager, to consult family businesses or to start a family business.