MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE OF FAMILY FIRMS
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The course of Management and Governance of Family firms intends to help students: i) to deeply understand distinctive traits, evolution paths and continuity conditions of family firms, with a special focus on strategic management, organization, business governance as well as on transitions in leadership, ownership and family; ii) by this means, to actively contribute to family firms' viability in their future roles, both as family business members involved in management and governance and as non-family managers, advisors or managers of financial institutions.
To reach these goals, students will be challenged to build up a solid and specific theoretical knowledge (based on textbooks and other materials) as well as as to develop the ability to to apply theory to cases in a problem-solving, inter-functional and inter-disciplinary perspective, making personal analyses and diagnoses of complex family business issues.
There are no binding prerequisites, but basic knowledge of strategy, organization and business law is recommended.
The course deals, in essence, with the following topics:
- Family business original traits, main challenges and continuity conditions: an overview.
- The crucial role of responsible ownership values.
- The strategy process and strategic decisions at business level.
- Organization strategies.
- Governance strategies.
- Generational transitions in leadership and ownership.
- Family agreements.
- Governing transitions and the role of third parties.
Family business: relevance and distinctive traits and dynamics.
The family business system: a case discussion.
Classical and emerging conditions for family business continuity.
The top condition for family business continuity: responsible ownership values and their transmission over generations.
Two cases’ discussion.
The peculiar traits of strategy process and strategic decisions in family firms at business level.
Differentiation strategies and their sustainability conditions.
Growth strategies and their sustainability conditions.
A case discussion.
Organizational strategies. Grooming and integrating non-family managers.
A case discussion.
Organizational strategies. Grooming and integrating non-family managers. Developing structures and operating systems.
Governance strategies at company, ownership and family level.
Transition processes in ownership, leadership and management: an overview of challenges and success conditions; growing future leaders and co-leaders.
Governing transition processes and the special role od advisors. A case discussion.
Governing transition processes. A testimonial.
Interactive lectures, case discussions, testimonials.
Students' learning will be tested:
- in class by giving direct feedbacks during lectures and case discussions;
- by the exam, which is in written form and consists of 3 questions on a short family business case (not discussed in class before), lasting 1 hour 45' and aimed at applying theories and models learned during the course to real-life situations.
Exam evaluation criteria will be, in fact, the rigorous knowledge of concepts, theories and model as well as the capacity to use them in order to interpret concrete situations, diagnosing problems and offering solutions.
Course materials include:
1) Selected readings (compulsory, subject to changes, available on the website):
- The Economist, To have and to hold, Special Report on Family Companies, 18th April 2015;
- Ward, The special role of strategic planning for family businesses, FBR, 1988;
- Ward, Growing the family business, FBR, 1997;
- Aronoff, Ward, An open letter to the non-family executive, FEP, 2000;
- Corbetta, Salvato, The board of directors in family firms: one size fits all?, FBR, 2004;
- Gnan, Montemerlo, Huse, Governance systems in family SMEs: the substitution effects between family councils and corporate governance mechanisms, JSBM, 2013;
- Martin, Is family governance an oxymoron?, FBR, 2001;
- Corbetta, Maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit across generations, EY, 2014;
- Lansberg, The tests of a prince, HBR, 2009;
- Montemerlo, Note on team leadership, 2015;
- Montemerlo, Siblings’ capital: a special asset for family continuity, 2015;
- Gersick, Essay on practice: advising family enterprise in the fourth decade, ETP, 2015.
2) Recommended textbooks (optional):
- Aronoff C., Ward J.L., “More than Family: Non-Family Executives in the Family Business”, Family Enterprise Publishers, 2000;
- Montemerlo D. and Ward J.L., The Family Constitution, Palgrave, 2011.
3) Cases for discussion (used o make the most of class work, never used as a basis for exam questions, available on the website session by session):
4) Slides (compulsory, available on the website session by session).
Office hours are indicated, and regularly updated, in professor's homepage.
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