The ‘WIFU Meets…’ symposium is a series of events which WIFU has been hosting since 2017. In the symposium, each event is dedicated to a WIFU research discipline which is not part of conventional business administration. The series began with ‘WIFU Meets History’. The WIFU Meets Sociology event was held in 2018, followed by WIFU Meets Anthropology in 2019.

This is an exchange format with a focus on business and social history, and its aim is to introduce WIFU’s transdisciplinary research work to academics from other research disciplines, develop joint approaches, and establish fruitful research alliances. WIFU’s intention is to inspire other academic disciplines to get involved with the ‘family entrepreneurship’ research theme. As well as colleagues from other academic fields, members of family businesses and business families are invited to contribute real-world questions to the transdisciplinary discourse.



  • Frequency: once a year
  • Content: various changing topics
  • Participants: historians, researchers of sociology, psychology and other fields of family business research, and family entrepreneurs
  • Venue: Witten/Herdecke University
  • Format: symposium consisting of talks and panel discussions
  • Free entry


The event began the evening before with a tour of the family’s own museum of J.D. Neuhaus

Professor Dr Tom A. Rüsen opens the event.

The auditorium listens attentively to talks from a historical perspective.

Professor Dr Jürgen Kocka speaks about family businesses in the new history of capitalism.

Professor Dr Rudolf Wimmer delivers a lecture on the special importance of family businesses to the economy and society and their place in academic research.

A practical example delivered by Carl-Julius Cronenberg outlines the significance of history to his family business.

Professor Dr Hartmut Berghoff speaks about the specifics of German family businesses from a historical perspective.

Maximilian Boltersdorf presents 239 years of company history.

Speakers answer questions from the audience in a panel discussion.

Dr Mechthild Isenmann used her talk to discuss sustainability and profit orientation as keynotes of premodern entrepreneurial behaviour in family businesses.

The objectives and logic of entrepreneurial aristocrats was the subject of a talk by Professor Dr Tatjana Tönsmeyer.

Professor Dr Heiko Kleve provided an insight into the business family as part of society.

Another panel discussion provides space for critical reflection and discussion of the talks.

Professor Dr Dieter Ziegler: Family businesses as financial service providers in the 19th and 20th centuries

Professor Dr Christina Lubinski spoke in her lecture about family businesses and their national identity.

Wilfried Neuhaus-Galladé introduces the family governance which has held his company together over generations.

Dr Thomas Urban explains the historical resilience of business families.

Final discussion with speakers and attendees.


Jennifer Tiedemann

Phone: +49 2302 926 528

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