Agency, Altruism, and Governance in Family firms: Looking back and looking forward

September 16, 2020

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of publication of Agency and Altruism in Family Firms, an article that sparked ongoing theoretical interest, and substantial debate, about the governance of family firms. In this session, I will share some history and perspective about both that article, as well as the evolution of theory and research that that occurred over the past two decades since its publication. Directions for future research will also be addressed. Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Date: September 24, 2020 Time: 6.00 PM CET WATCH IT NOW: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/OoR-aBJoLsTpslSSq3Y-8iJq_xQCjOY8AL1MEP2u5cIIZ2qMcNFW3jsmTvrTJhY-VFDH6yz4I6GsFfrl.nHV4CL-Pu-r8SKCy?continueMode=true

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Josip Kotlar: From Research To Publication

June 16, 2020

Professor Josip Kotlar about the importance of research positioning Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Webinar slides here. Webinar password: kotlariferamembers

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A Conversation about Research Methods in FB

June 16, 2020

Massimo Bau, Jönköping International Business School (Sweden) & Emanuela Rondi, Free University of Bozen/Bolzano (Italy), about research methods in family business. Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Video password: baurondiiferamembers

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How to Conduct a Literature Review

June 16, 2020

Professor Salvatore Sciascia, LIUC University (Italy), about how to conduct a literature review. Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Webinar slides here. Video password: sciasciaiferamembers

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Theory Building in Family Business Research

June 16, 2020

Professor Thomas Zellweger, University of St Gallen (Switzerland), about theory building in family business research: some reflections based on the paper “Property Rights, Owner-Management, and Value Creation” forthcoming in Academy of Management Review. Guest speaker: Bill Schulze Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Webinar slides here. Video password: zellwegeriferamembers

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Trends and Opportunities in Family Business Research

June 14, 2020

Professor Alfredo De Massis, Free University of Bozen/Bolzano, talks about trends and opportunities in family business research. Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Webinar slides here. Video password: demassisiferamembers

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FB in times of crisis: Cheung Ah Seung Ent., Indian Ocean

June 12, 2020

As part of the series of interviews on “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are pleased to share the conversation of Rania Labaki, Associate Professor and Director of the EDHEC Family Business Centre, with Jean and Jean-Alain Cheung-Ah-Seung, third generation members in charge of the Operations of CHEUNG AH SEUNG Enterprises based in the Indian Ocean (Reunion Island and Mayotte). Founded in 1964 by their grand-father who emigrated from China at age 13, CHEUNG AH SEUNG Enterprises is a medium-sized group of specialized service companies that strive to offer their customers turnkey and packaged solutions powered by 5 areas of expertise: logistics and transportation, lifting, construction equipment, maintenance, and removal. The COVID-19 pandemic had a ripple effect on the world economies and societies. How have the family and the business been particularly impacted? Youngsters from the 3rd generation, who are studying overseas, had to stay home and followed their distance-learning courses. Lockdown away from home was not easy to handle but they showed great solidarity between them. We created a task force to exchange intel from our different industries but also to quickly take the necessary measures to protect the family integrity. Regarding the family real estate assets, we have been trying to assist our tenants as much as possible. As for the Operations, the pandemic variously impacted our different business units. Some of these business units, such as our removal companies, had to thoroughly stop their activities. Similarly, all construction sites closed down, impacting our equipment rental and lifting activities. On the other hand, businesses like industrial maintenance, logistics and transportation never stopped. We guaranteed a service continuity for our customers in charge of vital activities. In the meantime, the on-call duty service was reinforced. The diversity of our industries has always been a managerial challenge on a daily basis. This said, we developed some kind of natural resilience and agility that helped us face the ordeals. Thanks to the commitment of every employees (office staff, truck drivers, sales rep, technicians, managers, executive committee members, head of business units) and the agility of the organization, we managed to curtail the loss of revenue to 30%. In Mayotte, our main concern was the complex social climate. Luckily enough, the team natural resilience is helping them to navigate quite well through the crisis. How did these changes translate into initiatives (or strategies)? Firstly, neither the 2nd, nor the 3rd generation, ever faced such a scenario and we are handling the situation with great humility. We focused on our family values, on our employees and our customers. We are lucky enough to be able to share our opinions and experience with family friends, suppliers, customers and partners which helped us to decipher the trends. Moreover, the trust given by the 2nd generation made us more confident in the actions taken. At a very early stage, the Executive Committee, together with the managers, came up with and agreed on the following action plan: Focus on cash flow: everyone, at every level helped with the debt collection Protect our employees: we managed to maintain the salaries (yet we had to take hard decisions […]

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Family businesses in times of crisis: Pellini Caffè, Italy

June 5, 2020

As part of the series of interviews dedicated to “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are happy to share the conversation between Carlotta Benedetti, PhD student at Free university of Bolzano and Nicolò Pellini, Head of Management Control Systems and third generation family member at Pellini Caffè. The Pellini roasting company has been dedicated to the production of high-quality espresso coffee since 1922. With its plant located in Italy, near Verona, Caffè Pellini has been constantly growing in the last years, and it’s currently among the market leaders in the Italian coffee industry. The COVID19 emergency has changed our lives. How has the life of Pellini as a company and as a family changed? We consider ourselves lucky as, being part of the food industry, the government allowed us to continue our production activities. Moreover, even if we had to stop working with bars and restaurants, the other distribution channels have helped in compensating the losses. From an organizational point of view, the production automatization developed over the last few years and a number of measures such as the spacing between desks, the schedule of common areas and shifts, the use of smart working and the adoption of frequent sanitization processes has allowed us to operate without interruption and in complete safety. Have you had the opportunity to plan any long-term strategy to face this challenging moment? From a strategic perspective, this period has led us to rethink some of the initiatives that already existed, especially those oriented to lower the impact of our activities on the environment. On a practical level, however, we were led to innovate the way we work, using smart working and establishing a relationship with our agents based on working from remote. How did you manage this new way of working? We decided to implement the use of smart working only with a few employees, mainly within the sales department and in particular with our agents. For the other departments it was enough to follow the general guidelines of distancing and sanitization. You are among the so-called “Made in Italy” companies with a strong international orientation. Do you think there will be specific repercussions on the “Made in Italy” district? From the numbers that we have access to, such as those related to exports, we strongly believe that the coffee industry will be able to react positively to this crisis. As far as the other realities we work with such as roasters, bars and restaurants, unfortunately we believe that they will probably suffer from this period of emergency. Pellini supply chain is composed by different suppliers from different areas of the world. How do you think this pandemic emergency will affect your strategic partners and suppliers? If we talk about our supply chain, we must consider that it has slowed down a bit. It has not always been easy to find the raw materials, especially from countries as far away as Brazil. Do you think that some of your partners will face struggles in dealing with this period? Have you planned any initiatives to support them? In our case, we decided to undertake a […]

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Family businesses in times of crisis: AHBGI, Dubai

May 29, 2020

As part of the series of interviews dedicated to “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are pleased to share a conversation of Rania Labaki, Associate professor and Director of EDHEC Family Business Centre, with Raméz A. Baassiri, a fourth-generation board member of AHB Group Investments (AHBGI). AHBGI is a privately held family business with family entrepreneurial roots stemming as far back as a century, with equities in diversified businesses in the fields of real estate, construction, manufacturing, trading, health care, food and beverage and telecommunications.   The COVID-19 pandemic had a ripple effect on the world economies and societies. How have the family and the business been particularly impacted? The impact of the pandemic on the business varies across the industries in our portfolio. This question mainly brings me back to a realization I had when writing my book ‘Interrupted Entrepreneurship’. What counts most and foremost in the family business is the safety of our people and organization. When the borders started to close, 40 % of our board, composed by family and non-family members, were abroad on business trips and were therefore stuck away from their families. So early on, before the social distancing was in place, we had to adapt by using technology to connect and communicate. This separation has helped us view the challenges we are facing a bit more from inside the glass than from the outside, in a more personal perspective. We were for example able to reflect on the ‘personal’ price each member has to pay, whether psychologically or technically, to navigate this crisis. What was most touching though was the fact that many of those who were operating in the shadows of our business processes stepped up and took a lead. This was a bright light during an ever-gloomy situation. How did these changes translate into initiatives (or strategies)? On the business sides, we followed a series of steps: 1. Facing reality quickly. 2.Setting up realistic and achievable goals 3. Working towards these goals but on a more frequent review as the situation is very fluid 4. Taking both a defensive and offensive approach, that is trying to survive yet seek new opportunities. 5. Ensuring closer ties with our clients, suppliers and associates. 6. Cash flow management In parallel, we started by setting up a range of safety criteria and a Covid task force, selecting from each department a person in charge of ensuring the implementation of the criteria. The criteria evolved along with the situation, through extensive research and review of procedures, addressing the concerns for employees with medical conditions and those aged over 60 who were early on asked to work from home. Then we extended this procedure to all the employees and provided a more flexible work schedule from home, to account for those having to support their children studying online. In a way we ended up having round the clock teams working based on what set of circumstances they were faced with. Among the other initiatives, we organized clubbing groups of 6-8 members, ensuring that no face to face interaction with other groups, so as to curtail any […]

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Family businesses in times of crisis: Grupo Alfa, Colombia

May 25, 2020

As part of the series of interviews dedicated to “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are happy to share the recent conversation of Rania Labaki, Associate professor and Director of EDHEC Family Business Centre, with Ana Maria Matallana Boggio, president and director of the foundation of Grupo Alfa, Fundación la Cayena. Grupo Alfa is a second-generation manufacturing family business specializing in wall and floor coverings in Colombia. The COVID19 emergency has changed our lives. How the family and the business have been impacted ? The siblings of the second generation, two sisters and one brother, are currently operating the business, with Carlos Alberto Boggio the CEO of the Group and the head of the family. They have stayed very united. Their cohesion has been the most important value in this crisis. Still, the family members were not able to see each other often given the travel restrictions between Colombia and the USA, where some of the family live. Some members of the third generation who study in the USA, were not able to return to their schools and are studying at home. The family was also very sad because our older son had his High School graduation canceled whereas we were planning to celebrate this important occasion altogether. When Colombia started to be in quarantine on March 22nd, the construction industry was not considered an essential business. So, we had to close all our stores and shut down all the six ceramic plants. Imports and export within Colombia have been restricted, just like all the other flights and transportation within the country and abroad. That makes it very hard to maintain the operations with the 2000 direct employees of the Group. How did these changes translate into initiatives (or strategies)? We have operated on several fronts. Our priority was to try to maintain all employees. But after one month of quarantine and no sales we had to start looking for other options. The siblings in charge of operations are talking almost every day and supporting each other on all fronts. Each of them is responsible to communicate to their other family members what the business and the family are doing. Through our foundation, we have supplied groceries, food and masks to the communities we directly impact. We also offered to the children and youth of the community a sport and values program to do at home with their parents. With the schools closed, domestic violence has increased in Colombia. For many children, school is their safe place. We believe that this type of programs, help vulnerable communities deal and manage this situation. The vulnerable women entrepreneurship unit of the Foundation, who used to manufacture uniforms for the industries, is now manufacturing bio-security items (masks etc.) for the population. We also partnered with another social enterprise that works with vulnerable populations, to manufacture more bio-security items to be able to provide to vulnerable communities and also sell them in our stores. One of the plants, that was closed, started manufacturing anti-bacterial gels and antibacterial cleaning material for hospitals and selling them to the population because these items became scare during […]

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