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March 2010
 Special Edition:
Family Business Research Matters
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Factors Contributing to the Longevity of Family Firms
Bakr Ibrahim
Bakr Ibrahim and his colleagues have conducted longitudinal research examining factors which  contribute to longevity in multigenerational
 firms.  This blog describes the primary factor which they believe is the cornerstone to longevity.  
Husband and Wife Teams -- Challenges and Possibilities of Copreneurship
Asa Bjornberg
Asa Bjornberg has interviewed eighteen husbands and wives  who jointly operate their family business.  In this blog she addresses the advantages and challenges of copreneurship, and starts to answer the question "Are two heads better than one?" in family business.
European Commission Launches the "Family Business Policy Manifesto" 
Panikkos Poutziouris
In this blog, Panikkos Poutziouris summarizes a report from the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry of the European Commisssion which calls upon member states to give special attention to the family business sector.  The blog also suggests that this report sends a politcal message of support and legitimacy to family business entrepreneurs, researchers and educators. 

On behalf IFERA, the International Family Enterprise Research Academy, welcome to Family Business Research Matters from Family Business Wiki.

IFERA is the driving force of a global network of academics, researchers and other key stakeholders promoting the advancement of research, theory and applied best practice in family business. In this newsletter we are pleased to have contributions from IFERA scholars who are shaping the contours of the interdisciplinary thematic area of family business entrepreneurship. This compilation epitomizes how research can bridge theoretical advancement with best practice and inform policy makers.

We welcome you to join us at the 10th Annual IFERA World Family Business Research Conference to be hosted at Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK, 6-9 July, 2010.  We will be offering keynotes, research forums, doctoral consortia, professional development consortia, policy workshops, and an education exchange.
Special Edition Guest Editor
President, IFERA
Danny Miller and Isabelle Le Breton-Miller
The Competitive Advantages of Family Firms
Lawrence BarnsDanny MillerMuch has been written about the unique challenges faced by family firms. They are said to perish after a generation or two, to be short of capital, and to be paternalistic and old fashioned. They are also argued to be plagued by family conflicts and nepotism, and therefore to put family first and financial performance last.

But recent studies have revealed a much brighter side to some of these businesses. In particular they have identified four core advantages that family firms have over other kinds of enterprises. In a book we published several years back we called these the four Cs, all of which stem from the long term orientation that family ownership makes possible. We found these advantages in our study of very large and successful family companies, firms with a median age of over 100 years and revenues of over $1 billion. Our companies led their markets nationally or internationally for at least 20 years and in many cases for over 60 years.  (Read more from Danny Miller and Isabelle Le Breton-Miller and add comments.)
Pramodita Sharma and Rob Nason
Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) 
Lawrence BarnsLawrence BarnsThe STEP project is a global applied research initiative focused on transgenerational entrepreneurship - that is, processes through which a family uses and develops entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities to create new value across generations. Through the STEP Project, families and scholars begin to understand the requirements for long-run growth and productivity that can generate prosperity for many generations to come. We want to focus on not just how families pass on their business entities from one generation to the next, but the entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities to the next generation to create new streams of social and economic value over time.  As a first of its kind initiative, the STEP Project hopes to change the way that we view business families and think of global prosperity.  (Read more from Pramodita Sharma and Rob Nason and add comments.)
Salvatore Sciascia and Pietro Mazzola
How Does Family Involvement Affect the Performance of Non-Listed Firms?
Pietro MazzolaSalvatore SciasciaDoes family involvement affect firm performance? This is one of the main questions for family business scholars, since answering such a question would be useful for practitioners to understand if and how to promote family involvement in firms. 
We collected data on 600 firms covering the 2000-2006 period.  Their performance was measured in two ways:  profitability (objective measure) and overall performance (subjective measure).  On the basis of our findings, we leave you the following key messages: 
  • We suggest opening the equity of the firms if the companies are fully controlled by the families.
  • Opening the management team to non-family members appears not so necessary for company profitability.
  • The core issue in the management of a profitable firm is not to open the management team, but to have a competent team at the helm of the company.
  • The negative effects of family involvement are more related to growth orientation rather than profitability.  Thus the choice of the right degree of family involvement in management may be influenced by the goals of the company (that sometimes are conflicting).  We suggest consultants to understand the family business goals before advising the best level of family involvement in management to be adopted.
(Read more from Salavatore Sciascia and Pietro Mazzola and add comments.) 
Ken Moores and Justin Craig
What Counts Get Counted:  The Application of the Balanced Scorecard to Family Business
Lawrence BarnsKen MooresThe Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a rich management and measurement tool that has proven to be successful in capturing the important strategy-linked facets of an organization.  We can report that the introduction of the BSC framework to a multi-generation family business enterprise is beneficial to various stakeholders i.e., family, directors, and managers.
The BSC enables the family to be assured that their expectations have been installed as a central consideration in the development of the business strategies and plans.  The process of scorecard development ensures at least recognition of the visions of key stakeholders.  The board of directors more regularly undertakes the scrutiny of measures and targets on behalf of the stakeholders in its endeavor to balance the family's needs with those of a business nature.  The BSC provides a reporting regime that reflects both these needs.  Management can then be encouraged by the scorecard reporting requirements to focus on the operational aspects of the firm's strategy in its reporting to the board of directors.  (Read more from Justin Craig and Ken Moores and add comments.)
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