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PTMBA2022 Family Businesses in the German and global market

Course code
Course type
PT MBA Lecture
Weekly Hours
HS 2021
Prof. Dr. Nadine Kammerlander
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

The following topics will be covered:

- Family firms around the globe

o Why are family firms relevant?

o What makes family firms special?

o How do family firms differ across the globe?

- Leading a family firm

o When is family-internal vs. family-external management preferable?

o What types of family firm leadership roles exist?

o How does succession in family firms take place?

- Tradition vs. innovation

o How to lead family firms in times of change and uncertainty?

o How to solve the “family innovator’s dilemma”?

o How does “innovation based on tradition” work?

- Family firm governance

o How and why is governance of family firms special?

o What is family governance and how does a family firm governance codex look like?

o How can a family firm be governed?

Date Time
Sunday, 21.11.2021 10:45 - 18:00
Saturday, 04.12.2021 10:45 - 18:00
Sunday, 05.12.2021 10:45 - 18:00
At the end of the course, the MBA students should have achieved the following learning goals:
  • Understand the unique aspects of a family firms and their contribution to the economy.
  • Understand the distinctive advantages and disadvantages of family firms and evaluate different ways to lead and govern family firms.
  • Identify ways how to make family firms fit for the long run and how to be effective leaders in such ownership settings.
  • Understand the critical issues that family firms face in managing and improving business performance as well as in their governance.
  • Understand how management tools and management frameworks of family firms differ from those commonly applied to non-family firms
  • Integrate entrepreneurial and professional management concepts for strengthening family business organizational performance.
  • Apply the specific practices and skills of effective family businesses in group case works and thereby develop intercultural team work skills.
  • Effectively communicate gained insights on family businesses.
Selection of important articles related to sustainability in family firm management: De Massis, A., Di Minin, A., & Frattini, F. (2015). Family-driven innovation: Resolving the paradox in family firms.California Management Review,58(1), 5-19.De Massis, A., Audretsch, D., Uhlaner, L., & Kammerlander, N. (2018). Innovation with Limited Resources: Management Lessons from the German Mittelstand.Journal of Product Innovation Management,35(1), 125-146.EY. The art of managing an entrepreneurial family. https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY_-_Family_Governance_Services_in_Norway/$File/EY-Family%20Governance%20Services.pdfKammerlander, N., & van Essen, M. (2017). Family firms are more innovative than other companies.Harvard Business Review.Kidwell, R. E., Eddleston, K. A., Cater Iii, J. J., & Kellermanns, F. W. (2013). How one bad family member can undermine a family firm: Preventing the Fredo effect.Business Horizons,56(1), 5-12.Miller, D., & Le Breton-Miller, I. (2005). Management insights from great and struggling family businesses.Long Range Planning,38(6), 517-530.Miller, D., Wright, M., Breton-Miller, I. L., & Scholes, L. (2015). Resources and innovation in family businesses: The Janus-face of socioemotional preferences.California Management Review,58(1), 20-40.
The course will include a variety of interactive teaching methods including

- Input lectures

- Class discussions

- Case study

- Group work (family governance)

- Guest talk (tbc)

Group work and presentation (50%)

Individual reflection on family business (50%)

The motivation to understand the specifics of sustainable practices in family firms and the willingness to work in a team to present group results using digital media resources (short video or presentation).
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