Dialogue Among all Stakeholders on Different Contexts and Cultural Settings

Despite an extraordinary quantitative and qualitative growth of family business research, context, culture and cultural variations among family firms and business families have been given short shrift, and remain under-analyzed (Krueger et al. 2021). This is astonishing because almost three decades ago, Wortman (1995: 56) noted that “(p)resently, there are essentially no comparative studies of family business across cultural boundaries, ethnic boundaries, and country borders”. Nevertheless, and despite all efforts, fifteen years later, this diagnosis was re-confirmed by Gupta & Levensburg (2010).

One way to change this might be the incorporation of adjacent disciplines with more emphasis on context and culture. Here it is still the case that few theoretical approaches from outside have been incorporated sufficiently into family business research, such as family science (James et al. 2012; Jaskiewicz et al. 2017, 2020), anthropology (Koellner 2023) or sociology (Kleve & Koellner 2019¸ Kushins & Behounek 2020). This is astonishing because the study of family business maintains that family ownership and operation distinguishes this business form from others, such as non-family corporations. Such an insistence necessitates the further specification of how the family matters. Family business research has attempted to clarify the influence of the family itself on business activities by developing concepts such as ‘familiness’ (Habbershon & Williams 1999) and entrepreneurial legacy (Jaskiewicz et al. 2015) or socio-emotional wealth (Gómez-Mejía et al. 2007). Nevertheless, the bulk of family business research implies that the nuclear or conjugal family is the main unit of analysis, thus abstracting from the role of broader kinship associations (Osnes 2011; Kushins & Behounek 2020).

Against this backdrop, we encourage interdisciplinary and intersectional contributions that allow for a better understanding of context and culture in business families and family business. Inter alia, we are interested in how different institutional arrangements, social norms, religious foundations, societal values, socio-political contexts, and forms of family cohesion influence business families, family businesses, and the relationships between them.

Therefore, the conference is a unique forum created for the world’s most distinguished scholars, engaged practitioners and influential consultants to come and converse about a better conceptualization of context and cultural differences in family businesses and business families. Exchanges on this topic give the extraordinary opportunity for creating profound and path-breaking new insights with global ramifications. As target groups for the conference, three different stakeholders have been identified:

  • academics,
  • consultants, and
  • members from business families.

The best academics, consultants in the family business domain, and business family owners across the world come together and converge an in-depth “Conversation”. By engaging different stakeholders into conversation, we aim to produce an “AND”. This means that through in-depth interactions we may create a fusion, a union – something that is made into one by a combination of many. For this, we envision merging diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole.

Although family business research has been developed in the USA, Japan, and Europe, the rich body of knowledge and wisdom on family-managed firms derives from different regions and settings. A vast number of scholars and practitioners have been involved in an iterative process of thinking and doing to contribute to growing and developing family business as a unique field. Nevertheless, the diverse and enormous wisdom of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and many other areas across the globe has not been documented and discussed to such an extent as from the western world. Therefore, we particularly encourage contributions from the ‘global South’ and invite them to participate in conversations on various possibilities of collaboration, learning, and interaction. For this, we invite you to submit abstracts and full papers.

  • “The deadline for the submission of Full paper is May 31st 2023 “

In addition, we are offering 8 scholarships for particularly promising contributions. For the scholarship holders, the conference fee, accommodation, and catering during the conference will be covered.

Topics to be discussed include but are not restricted to the following:

  • What new insights and theoretical reflections can be used for a better understanding of business families and family business in a cross-cultural perspective?
  • How can we enhance our knowledge about business families and family business around the world by bringing people with very different backgrounds together?
  • In which ways are we able to develop a better understanding of context on family business and business families?
  • How can we build a platform that equally contributes to academic rigor and has relevance for practice?


Dr. Habil. Tobias Koellner      – tobias.koellner@uni-wh.de
Dr Bhavani M                            – bhavani@fredindia.org


  1. Gómez-Mejía, L. et al. 2007. Socioemotional Wealth and Business Risks in Family-controlled Firms: Evidence from Spanish Olive Oil Mills. Administrative Science Quarterly 52 (1): 106–137.
  2. Gupta, V. & Levenburg, N. 2010. A Thematic Analysis of Cultural Variations in Family Businesses: The CASE Project. Family Business Review 23 (2): 155–169.
  3. Habbershon, T. G., & Williams, M. L. 1999. A Resource-Based Framework for Assessing the Strategic Advantages of Family Firms. Family Business Review 12 (1): 1–25.
  4. James, A. E., Jennings, J. E. & Breitkreuz, R. S. 2012. Worlds Apart? Rebridging the Distance between Family Science and Family Business Research. Family Business Review 25: 87–108.
  5. Jaskiewicz, P., Combs, J. G., & Rau, S. B. 2015. Entrepreneurial Legacy: Toward a Theory of How some Family Firms Nurture Transgenerational Entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing 30 (1): 29–49.
  6. Jaskiewicz, P., Combs, J. G., Shanine, K. K. & Kacmar, K. M. 2017. Introducing the Family: A Review of Family Science with Implications for Management Research. .Academy of Management Annals 11 (1): 309–341.
  7. Jaskiewicz, P., Neubaum, D. O., De Massis, A. & Holt, D. T. 2020. The Adulthood of Family Business Research through Inbound and Outbound Theorizing. Family Business Review 33 (1): 10–17.
  8. Kleve, H. & Koellner, T. (Eds.) 2019. Die Soziologie der Unternehmerfamilie. Wiesbaden: Springer.
  9. Koellner, T. 2023 (Forthcoming). Family Firms and Business Families as a Field for Anthropological Research. Anthropology Today.
  10. Krueger, N., Bogers, M. L., Labaki, R. & Basco, R. 2021. Advancing Family Business Science through Context Theorizing: The Case of the Arab World. Journal of Family Business Strategy 12 (1), 100377.
  11. Kushins, E. R. & Behounek, E. 2020. Using Sociological Theory to Problematize Family Business Research. Journal of Family Business Strategy 11 (1), 100337.
  12. Osnes, G. 2011. Succession and Authority: A Case Study of an African Family Business and a Clan Chief. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management 11 (2): 185–201.
  13. Wortman, M. 1995. Critical Issues in Family Business: An International Perspective of Practice and Research. In Proceedings of the 1eSB 40th world conference, pp. 53–76. Sydney: Institute of Industrial Economics
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