Posted By The Practitioner,
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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August 8, 2012
FBR Executive Summaries
Good research never goes out of style. So this month, we reach
back in time to bring you Executive Summaries from editions of Family Business
Review past from Karen Vinton who was more than game to rise to the challenge. And although this
trio of recaps harks back from the March 2012 issue of FBR--when FBR first began
the Executive Summary initiative, some of the articles originally ran in 2011. To bend your mind even further, Summary 3 reviews three books that should be
on all practitioners’ "must-read” list—thoughtfully summed up by Worcester
Polytechnic Institute’s Frank Hoy. It’s like layers of an onion, isn’t it?
As usual, I hope these summaries trigger your impulse to excavate further into
the areas of research that interest you most. And as always, you can also
download the current FBR issue and archived issues online.
Here are today’s recaps:
SUMMARY 1: "Charting
the Future of Family Business Research: Perspectives From the Field”
by Reginald Litz, Allison Pearson, and
This article uses Henry Mintzberg’s "seven ways of looking
at things" (seeing ahead, seeing behind, seeing above, seeing below, seeing
beside, seeing beyond, and seeing it through) to examine the family business
research field. The authors studied numerous review articles and conducted a survey
of 83 family business scholars. The
authors conclude that:
"the field will need to develop
and innovate by expanding its conceptual boundaries to more deliberately
include the family, enlarge its temporal boundaries to more reflectively
appreciate the past, open its international boundaries to welcome findings from
a growing array of international and ethnic contexts, and enrich its inherent
complexity to appreciate works that present novel variables and engage in
increasingly diverse set of topics (p. 30)."
All of which will ultimately help practitioners work more
effectively with their clients, because the more that is learned about family
businesses through research, the more practitioners will be able to help those
businesses grow and prosper.
Additionally, the authors recommend that the support to
accomplish these goals can come from family business centers. And here is another way practitioners can
help. If you are involved in a family
business center, either as a sponsor or participant, encourage your center to
get involved in supporting research. If
you have the chance to talk with researchers, talk to them about the challenges
you face in your practice that might be interesting research topics. You can also encourage your clients to
participate in research projects. The collaboration between researchers and
practitioners is critical to family business success.
To link to the study, click here.
SUMMARY 2: "The Landscape of Family Business Outcomes: A
Summary and Numerical Taxonomy of Dependent Variables”
by Andy Yu, G. T. Lumpkin, Ritch Sorenson,
and Keith Brigham
As a result of this study, the authors make a strong
recommendation that we should "know more about business-owning families, their
motivations, and ways they govern their enterprises to develop business success
so as to accomplish family vision and goals” (pp. 47-48). This conclusion is a result of a study of 257
empirical family business studies published between 1998 and 2009 which
produced an astounding total of 327 outcome/dependent variables. Using these
327 outcome/dependent variables, the authors used four consecutive studies to
analyze, refine, and develop a landscape of family business outcome/dependent
variables which formed these seven clusters:
- Social and Economic
- Family Dynamics
- Family Business Roles
An interesting feature of this study was the authors’ use of
both family business owners and family business advisors to identify the
variables that most distinguished the family business domain and the variables
that were missing in the current research.
Family outcomes and noneconomic performance were the areas mentioned
most frequently by these experts. The
complexity and uniqueness of the "business family” is reinforced by this
To link to the study, click here.
SUMMARY 3: "March 2012 Book Review”
by Frank Hoy
Frank Hoy selects
three seminal books from the field of family business and examines the roles
these books have played in advancing knowledge.
practitioner should read these three books and have them on her/his bookshelf:
- Keeping the Family
Business Healthy: How to Plan for Continuing Growth, Profitability, and
by John L. Ward. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 308 pp. Hardcover.
Originally published in 1987 by Jossey-Bass.
- Generation to
Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, by Kelin A. Gersick, John A. Davis,
Marion McCollom Hampton, and Ivan Lansberg. Boston: Harvard Business
School Press, 1997. 302 pp. Hardcover.
- Managing for the Long
Run: Lessons in Competitive Advantage from Great Family Businesses, by Danny Miller and Isabelle Le
Breton-Miller. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2005. 310 pp.
These books are
useful to any consulting practice and can be referred to clients and to new
practitioners in the field. For example,
John Ward’s book is particularly useful in helping practitioners and clients
reframe what is learned in business school about strategic planning into a way
of working with and thinking about strategic planning in the family
business. The expansion of the Three
Circle Model to a Developmental Model by Gersick, et. al., helps multi-generational family firms understand
the challenges of transitions. Miller and Le Breton-Miller articulate the
competitive advantages of family controlled businesses and can help
practitioners and clients take a new (and more appreciative) look at how they
Frank Hoy not
only reviews the books but interviews the authors. The reflective responses he received from
the authors during personal interviews are interesting and can be found
throughout the article. However, the
last section in this review, beginning on page 120, is particularly
thought-provoking. All of the authors
recognize and comment on the progress of the field and the role practitioners
and family businesses play in that progress.
To link to the study, click here.
complete issues as well as the latest Online First articles, visit the
FBR Sage website here. FFI members receive complimentary subscription
to FBR. If you need assistance accessing your account please contact [email protected].
About the Contributor:
Karen L. Vinton Ph.D. is a 1999 Barbara Hollander Award winner and Professor Emeritus of Business at the College of Business at Montana State University, where she founded theUniversity’s Family Business Program. An FFI Fellow, she has served on its Board of Directorsand chaired the Body of Knowledge committee. From 1997 through 2011, Vinton served on theeditorial board of the Family Business Review, and is the current assistant editor. Beforeretiring, Vinton served as director for her own family's business (negotiating its eventual sale)and had her own family business consulting practice, Vinton Consulting Services. Karen can bereached at [email protected].
Be sure to look for The Practitioner: Wednesday Edition next week
for an article by Kirby Rosblock entitled: "Recent Findings on Sustaining the Family Enterprise”
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