Every year, the Family Firm Institute (FFI) honors excellent research in the field of family businesses. This year, two professors of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management earned honorary mention for their articles: Professor Christina Günther, Chair of Small and Medium-sized Businesses, and Professor Nadine Kammerlander, Chair of Family Businesses.
Professor Günther's study "Family Firm Values Explaining Family Firm Heterogeneity", which was developed in collaboration with former WHU doctoral student Viktoria Schneider-Siebke and Sabine Rau from the University of Ottawa, examines the extent to which family businesses have heterogeneous value profiles, which differentiate them from each other and from non-family businesses. "Family businesses are often said to be conservative and above all interested in the long-term continuation of family tradition and the wealth they have acquired over several generations," explains Günther. "We have found that, in addition to these stereotypical traditional family businesses, there are also innovation-driven, highly professionalized family businesses that categorically keep family concerns out of everyday business life". According to the study, five different types of family firms can be classified. At the same time, the study shows that non-family-managed companies have much more homogeneous value profiles than family businesses, and consequently develop less "character".
Together with Melanie Richards from the University of Bath and Thomas Zellweger from the University of St. Gallen, Professor Kammerlander deals with the choice of a successor in family businesses in her paper "Listening to the Heart or the Head? Exploring the 'Willingness Versus Ability' Succession Dilemma". Based on more than 2000 responses from interviewed entrepreneurs, the authors find that education, experience and other family members in management influence the preference for either very committed or very competent takeovers. The culture of the country and the financial situation of the company also play a role in the question of who is the preferred successor.
As the world's leading association of professionals for family-run organizations, the Family Firm Institute considers family businesses as a fundamental driver of global economic growth, prosperity and stability. It relies on a global network of professionals, educators, researchers, and members of family businesses and provides a platform for the exchange of ideas, expertise, and perspectives. For 30 years, FFI has presented the Family Business Review Awards to advance research in the field of family businesses.