Centre for Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise

Theories of Family Enterprise Academic Conference

Family firms have traditionally received scant attention in the mainstream academic literature. This neglect is unfortunate and puzzling for two reasons. First, in terms of numbers, family businesses represent a dominant form of economic organization throughout the world. Therefore, scholarship that neglects to consider the vast majority of business enterprises cannot hope to be generalizable to any but a small segment of the population of organizations. Second, the neglect is unnecessary because many of the theories that have been developed have applications to family firms. The failure of studies to recognize and include family businesses may lead to factors being missed that would otherwise make existing theories more robust and valuable to family and non-family firms alike. Fortunately, the situation is changing and family businesses are beginning to receive attention by scholars throughout the world.

The purpose of this conference is to improve our collective understanding of family firms by promoting the development of theories and the accumulation of empirical evidence pertaining to that organizational form. The conference is intended to bring a small number of leading scholars from mainstream disciplines such as strategic management, organization theory, organization behavior, finance, economics, and entrepreneurship together with a small number of leading scholars in family business management in order to explore theories, research, and interdisciplinary perspectives on family businesses.

By invitation only, leading scholars are invited to prepare and present papers on family business utilizing a variety of perspectives. Conference topics are determined by importance as well as by the interests of the invited presenters. Papers presented cover a wide range of perspectives, including agency theory, institutional theory, organizational ecology, prospect theory, resource-based theory, stakeholder theory, transaction cost theory, procedural and distributive justice theories, and network theory, among others, all potentially inform our understanding of family enterprise. Likewise, family business viewed from the conceptual lens of fields such as entrepreneurship, economics, strategic management, organization behavior, and sociology should further contribute to our overall goal.

The authors of papers are invited to submit their work following the conference for review and possible inclusion a special issue in the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

 All of the Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice special issues below are comprised of papers and commentaries presented at past Theories of Family Enterprise Conferences.

Year Academic Conference Location Special Issue
2018 University of Alberta, Edmonton TBD
2017 University of St.Gallen, Switzerland TBD
2016 University of Alberta, Edmonton TBD
2015 Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 2016 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 40/2
2014 University of Alberta, Edmonton 2015 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 39/1
2013 Imperial College London, United Kingdom 2014 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 38/6
2012 University of Alberta, Edmonton  2013 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 37/6
2011 WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar, German 2012 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 36/6
2010 University of Alberta, Edmonton 2011 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 35/6
2009 Northeastern University, Boston 2010 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 34/6
2008 University of Alberta, Edmonton 2009 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 33/6
2007 Mississippi State University 2008 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 32/6
2005 University of Alberta, Edmonton 2006 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 30/6
2003 University of Calgary, Calgary 2005 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 29/3
2002 Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania 2004 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 28/4
2001 University of Alberta, Edmonton 2003 Journal of Business Venturing, 18/4
2003 Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 27/4