Theories of Family Enterprise

2016 Theories of Family Enterprise Conference

May 25 - 27, 2016
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


The Theories of Family Enterprise conference, now in its 14th year, aims to bring together leading scholars from varied disciplines such as strategic management, organization theory, finance, and entrepreneurship, with leading scholars in family business, to build knowledge on one specific type of organization – the family enterprise.


Across the past few decades substantial work has been done to engage more scholars in family business research and integrate family business conversations into the mainstream conversations in management. While family firm research may not yet have become fully integrated into these conversations, substantial progress has been made to strengthen the legitimacy of family business.  Conferences, such as the Theories of Family Enterprise, have been an important forum for engaging diverse and varied scholarly perspectives in discussion, and in raising the profile of family business.  Continued scholarly interaction with other disciplines is important to enable the field of family business to build and disseminate knowledge on family enterprises.


Each year, conference topics are determined by importance as well as by the interests of the invited presenters.  Papers presented at the conference cover a wide range of perspectives, including agency theory, institutional theory, organizational ecology, the resource-based view of the firm, stakeholder theory, transaction cost theory, procedural and distributive justice theories, and network theory, which all potentially inform our understanding of family enterprise. Likewise, family business is also viewed from the conceptual lens of fields such as strategic management, entrepreneurship, organization behaviour, economics, and sociology.  For each paper, a leading academic from family business or a related discipline is asked to prepare commentaries to further illuminate and explore the contributions of these theoretical approaches to the study of family business.