IFERA 2013 Call for Papers

"Ownership, Governance, and Value in Family Firms"

The International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA) and the University of St.Gallen invite you to participate in the 2013 IFERA Annual Conference (IFERA 2013). This global conference will take place in St.Gallen, Switzerland from July 2nd to 5th, 2013.

The purpose of the conference is to advance family business scholarship by serving as a platform for presentation of carefully crafted contributions seeking to find home in top-tier academic journals, advancement of papers that need further development in order to make a meaningful contribution, testing of new ideas and plans that will benefit of advice from other members of the IFERA family and our distinguished quests, and raising of new and relevant questions concerning family business. Highlighting the role of IFERA as a bridge between intellectual framings and praxis of family business, the conference also brings together different actors to identify and advance best practices and policies in the family business. Finally, with the IFERA tradition of having fun, the conference provides an inspiring and unique atmosphere for networking and exchanging ideas.


We are proud to announce two renowned scholars as keynote speakers for the 2013 IFERA conference, who will share their insights and suggest avenues for future research on the conference theme.

-          Ruth Aguilera, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
-          Robert E. Hoskisson, Rice University


Given the enduring centrality of ownership and governance related topics in scholarly discussions on family firms as well as their important implications for theory and practice, the IFERA 2013 overall theme is dedicated to “Ownership, Governance, and Value in Family Firms”. This topic also reflects the increasing interest of governance scholars in family businesses.

Ownership and governance in family firms have attracted broad scholarly attention as critical determinants of family involvement that have the potential to influence firms’ goal setting, strategic activities, and finally performance. Researchers have applied an ample set of theoretical perspectives – including agency theory, stewardship theory, and resource based view, to mention only a few – to investigate the different types of governance, related formalized and non-formalized governance mechanisms, and their implications on a variety of stakeholders – family, outside minority investors, community, society/nation as a whole. Related to this topic, value creation – including the achievement of short and long term financial and non-economic goals of the family – has long been a core theme in family business literature. In addition, some voices have questioned whether a predominance of family ownership destroys value at a macro level, by creating incentives to pervert the political process and creating entry barriers to entrepreneurship by first generation entrepreneurs.

To-date, despite the relevance of these core family business topics, many of the critical antecedents, precise mechanisms and key implications of family governance and ownership, still remain ambiguous. We thus encourage scholars to apply theoretical rigor, systematic research designs, and a wide variety of methodological approaches in order to shed further light on these central family business research areas. 

Topics of potential contributions to IFERA 2013 include but are not limited to:


  • How do different academic disciplines help us understand the dimensions and dynamics of ownership in family firms?
  • Why are families sometimes willing/reluctant to share ownership with outsiders?
  • Why do minority stockholders invest/not invest in family dominated firms?
  • What is the relationship between formal and psychological aspects of ownership in family firms?
  • What are the relationships among psychological ownership, socio-emotional wealth, and emotional dynamics in family firms?
  • What explains the exclusion or inclusion of family members in the ownership structure of the firm?
  • How does the institutional environment affect the prevalence of family firm as an ownership form in different countries?


  • What differences are there in governance across listed firms in which the dominant owner is a bank, a co-operative, a family, a foundation, an individual, an insurance company or a state?
  • How can theory on family firm governance benefit from integrating new theoretical perspectives?
  • What are the social-psychological factors and/or dynamics that explain deviances in family firm governance, and what effects these may have on value delivered to various stakeholders?
  • What are the roles of official vs. unofficial structures and systems in family firm governance?
  • What is the relationship between family related factors/dynamics and governance mechanisms and structures in family firms?
  • Do the family system governance mechanisms and structures influence or carry over to the firm governance?
  • What is the relationship between governance mechanisms and resource acquisition in family firms?
  • What is the role of institutional forces in shaping family firm governance? How do institutional forces influence the diffusion of governance practices in family firms, or between family and nonfamily firms?

Value Creation and Value Destruction

  • How is success defined in and by family firms?
  • Abstractions and analyses of firm value, performance, and sustainability – how family firms define “value” and “performance”? Do they care about sustainability implicitly or explicitly? What kind of governance mechanisms are used to shepherd and monitor progress on these issues?
  • What constitutes the underlying theoretical rationale(s) to explain the value creation process and the outcomes of this process in family firms? Could family firms create value for certain stakeholders at the expense of destroying value for other stakeholders?
  • How does value creation/destruction occur within the owning family and its family system?
  • What is the balance of sustainability between both the family and the firm and how it this balance achieved overtime?
  • Can one support the notion that often it is the family that is of value to the business/firm (as an actor in its own right)?
  • What constitutes the underlying theoretical rationale(s) to explain failure of or exit from family firms?

IFERA 2013 welcomes all high quality theoretical and empirical contributions to the general field of family business and in particular those relating to the conference theme.


IFERA - International Family Enterprise Research Academy

c/o College of Business and Management

University of Illinois Springfield

1 University Plaza, UHB4060

Springfield, IL 62711

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