Best Doctoral Dissertation

The Best Doctoral Dissertation Award is given to encourage and recognize outstanding academic achievement in the field of family business study. The Best Dissertation is awarded annually after a blind, peer review of all submissions.

Dissertations may be on any topic of relevance to the understanding and appreciation of family firms and/or family firm advisors. Dissertations must have been written as part of a graduate course of study at an accredited academic institution and must have been defended in the last 18 months.

Award Amount: $2,500


If you are submitting a paper for consideration, please:

  • Upload the completed doctoral dissertation as requested on the form.
  • Remove from all submitted material (dissertation, abstract, and summary) any and all references to the author’s name, academic institution, advisor, and committee members, as well as all parenthetical references and citations from the same.
  • Include the author’s name, address, phone and email on the title page only.
  • In the online submission form, include the author’s name, the institution that awarded the doctorate, and the names of the dissertation advisor and committee members.
  • Upload a one-page abstract of no more than 120 words.
  • Upload a summary of no more than 20 pages following the criteria listed below.
  • Submit dissertation in PDF format.

Dissertations can be submitted in any language, but the abstract and summary must be submitted in English.

Submission Deadline: The deadline for submissions for awards is March 1 of the award year.


Applicants will be notified of the decision in writing by June 1 of the submission year. Winners are expected to be present at the FFI annual conference to receive the award. Implicit in the awards submission is a commitment, if a winner, to be available to judge this category twice in the subsequent three years. This ensures a consistency of quality and fairness of the process by having experienced judges.


The overall quality of the entry will be based on purpose and significance of the study, research questions, literature review, research design, sample, data collection, data analysis, findings, theory (if applicable), limitations of the study, and implications for practice and research.

The entry will also be reviewed based on literature survey, model development, hypothesis generation, research design, sample and site selection, data gathering methods, variable definition and measurement, data analysis methods, findings, and conclusions.

Award Recipients


Nathaniel Hammond, Towards a theory of legacy: The proposal, development, and validation of a family legacy orientation scale


Mira Bloemen-Bekx, Enriching the Early Phases of the Succession Process: An Explanation of the Role of Social Mechanisms in Business Families


Jasper Brinkerink, Innovation Management in Small and Medium-Sized Family Firms: The role of family-induced differences in attitudes and decision models


Jeroen Neckebrouck, The Effects of Ownership Heterogeneity on the Governance of Private Firms: Insights from family firms and private equity


David Jiang, The Family Ties That Bind: Essays That Examine and Extend the Microfoundations of Socioemotional Wealth Theory

Hanqing Fang, Strategic Persistence, Dominant Strategy and Firm Performance in Publicly Traded Family Firms


Joshua Nacht, The Role of the Family Champion


Miriam Bird, The Impact of the Family on Entrepreneurial Outcomes: The role of social embeddedness


Francesco Barbera, Financing Firm Size and Productive Efficiency: The effect of family ownership


Nadine Kammerlander, Organizational Adaptation to Discontinuous Technological Change: The Effects of Family Influence and Organizational Identity


Best Qualitative Dissertation: Annette Rahael for Co-CEOs: An Exploratory Case Study of Shared Leadership in a Family Owned and Operated Business

Best Quantitative Dissertation: Esra Memili for Control-enhancing Corporate Governance Mechanisms: Family versus Non-family Publicly Traded Firms


Ignacio Requejo Puerto, Corporate Governance in Family Firms: Effects of family control on firm value and corporate financial decisions

Honorable Mention: Fabian Bernhard Psychological Ownership in Family Business


Wayne Jeremy Irava, Familiness Qualities, Entrepreneurial Orientation and Long-term Performance Advantage


Sami Alwuhaibi, A Cultural Perspective on the Impact of Family and Society on the Competitive Advantage of Organizations and Nations


Stephanie Brun de Pontet, Using Theories of Control and Self-regulation to Examine the Leadership Transition Between a Parent and Child in Family-Owned Business


Alain Praet, Large Blockholders: Do family firms differ from others? Evidence from the Belgian stock market

Honorable Mention: Chris Graves Venturing Beyond the Backyard: An examination of the internationalization process of Australian small-to-medium sized family-owned manufacturing enterprises

Honorable Mention: Begona Pereira-Otero Family Business vs. Non-Family Business: A status and dynamic analysis of their differences, from characteristics and elements of the strategic process


Naomi Birdthistle, Ph.D., Small Family Businesses as Learning Organisations: An Irish study

Honorable Mention: Thomas Zellweger Risk, Return and Value in the Family Firm


Alberto Gimeno, Performance in the Family Business: A causal study of internal factors and variables


Annika Hall, Strategising in the Context of Genuine Relations


Elmarie Venter, The Succession Process in Small and Medium-Sized Family Businesses in South Africa


Mark L. Hoelscher, The Relationship Between Family Capital and Family Business Performance: Collaboration and conflict as moderators


Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez, Patterns in Serial Business Families: Theory building through global case study research


Daphna F. Raskas

Honorable Mention: Pramodita Sharma Determinants of the satisfaction of the primary stakeholders with the succession process in family firms


Daphna F. Raskas

Jeffrey D. Swartz, Towards a Model of Justice in Ownership Succession: An exploratory study of the intergenerational transfer of family business ownership


Michael Wakefield, Antecedents of Conflicts in Family Firms: An empirical study


Marilyn Elaine Fuss-Reineck, Home to Business and Business to Home: Role carry-over between spouses and family businesses


Christopher Eckrich


Susan T. Ferkany, For the Money: Building business in Monterrey, Mexico


Kevin Seymour, Inter-Generational Relationships in the Family Firm: The effect on leadership succession


Johannes Welsch, An Exploratory Investigation of the Impact of Family Ownership and Involvement on the Management Succession Process in Large Industrial Firms: The human resource management perspective


Wendy Handler


Colette Dumas, Daughters in Family-Owned Businesses – An applied systems perspective