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Seminar: Family Business and Entrepreneurship Research

Family businesses are one of the most dominant forms of organization around the world. The aimof this seminar is to study how family firms differ from non-family firms. The focus will thereby be on issues related to managing a family firm, from the perspective of the owners and/or managers.
Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2024
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.

This seminar aims at preparing students for conducting academic research on family businesses. A specific focus will be on excelling in literature reviews.

The seminar will start with an introduction day that combines an input lecture with an in-class discussion. Topics will be the following:

-        What are family businesses and what makes them unique?

-        Theories to describe family businesses

-        What is academic research – and what isn’t academic research?

-        How to conduct a literature review?

The students will then form groups of two and choose a family business-related topic. Over the course of the seminar, their task is to conduct an academic literature review on the chosen topic and to briefly propose a research project based on it.

The mid-slot of the seminar will be dedicated to the following topics:

-        Open discussion and feedback: What is working well? What are the challenges?

-        Input lecture on “how to write a paper” and discussion

The students will then continue working on their literature reviews. The third and last slot of the seminar will be dedicated to presentations and discussions thereof.

Date Time
Monday, 22.01.2024 15:30 - 18:45
Thursday, 22.02.2024 15:15 - 18:45
Wednesday, 13.03.2024 08:00 - 18:45
The students will improve their knowledge and skills in the following ways:
  1. Understand the current challenges of family businesses
  2. Learn how family businesses could benefit from megatrends
  3. Increase their teamwork, analysis, problem solution, and communication skills by applying them in practice
  4. Creatively develop new solutions, e.g., by applying design thinking approaches, and by experiencing a “sharing” environment.
-        Will be provided in class
-        Group work

-        Discussion

-        Input lecture

-       Literature Review 65%

-        Presentation 20%

-        Q&A 15%

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