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Business Families Centre

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Research Matters: White Paper Series

The Business Families Centre has launched a series of white papers to initiate further discussion about, and foster a stronger appetite for, the latest research in the growing field of family enterprise studies. Complemented by personal accounts from business family members, practitioners, and scholars, the white paper series effectively bridges academic theory and everyday experience, uniquely examining topics that have a critical effect on our businesses, communities, and economy.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Family Firms: Reassessing the Fixation on “Success” and “Failure” in Family Enterprise
April 2013

Nearly all mainstream literature and media coverage of family-owned businesses, as well as advertising aimed at family enterprise, focus on succession from one generation to the next and the challenges that arise in this transition. One could argue that the field of family enterprise is besieged by the topic of succession. However, new research from the discipline of entrepreneurship suggests that succession may not be as big a problem as many in the field have traditionally thought.
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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: An Introduction to Governance in a Family Business System
November 2012

In this paper, we define governance in a family business system, describe the basic tenets of governance in a family enterprise, and outline some of the academic research on governance that is of most practical relevance to business family members. This paper aims to introduce the fundamentals of governance to business families who may benefit from the implementation of governance structures in their enterprise.
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Working Adolescents in Canadian Family Enterprises
October 2012

Succession, intergenerational transition, and dynamics between members of a family business are perhaps the most ubiquitous, complex, and challenging issues in the entire field of family business studies. Regardless of the challenging nature of these processes, research shows that "what business-owning families do -- or do not do -- today will have echoes down through time, for generations to come," according to John. L. Ward, a leading authority in the field (2004).
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Research Matters in the Family Enterprise Field: Where Theory and Practice Meet
October 2012

In this inaugural paper we look at the field of family business research and practise as an emerging independent discipline. We address the struggle for a definition of the term family business; outline its distinctiveness as compared to non-family firms; and address its significant contribution to the economy.
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