In 2007 FFI Fellow Joe Goodman made a generous contribution to FFI for the purposes of revisiting John Ward's (1987) seminal study on family firm succession. An RFP was sent out and a grant was made to three researchers from the STEP Project (Babson). These researchers (Rob Nason, Babson College; Mattias Nordqvist, Jonkoping International Business School and Thomas Zelleweger, University of St. Gallen) then conducted a study over a three year period, with preliminary results presented at the FFI conference in Chicago.
This FFI/Goodman study questions the wisdom of considering longevity a function of maintaining the family business across generations vs. a new definition of longevity as the ability of the family as an enterprise to stay viable across generations, creating family legacies and new competitive futures for multiple.
This research has since resulted in an article, "From Longevity of Firms to Transgenerational Entrepreneurship of Families: Introducing Family Entrepreneurial Orientation" which is available here.