Crises and Conflicts in Family Businesses II

Creative power and destructiveness in entrepreneurial families


Based on a research project terminated in 2008 about the characteristics of crises dynamics in family businesses the WIFU will conduct a follow-up project. The major focus of this research work will be the Janus-faced creative power and destructiveness of entrepreneurial families in family businesses. In general this topic has already been treated numerous times but in the context of crises only rudimentary. Furthermore we want to examine to what extent family-external participants of crises processes (e.g. representatives of banks, crises managers or consultants) have knowledge about special system conditions of family businesses, which approaches they use to solve conflicts within the family and how these approaches help to overcome the crises. This project will analyse more detailed single sub-projects that have already generated certain findings on this topic, validate these findings with quantitative surveys and treat current problems. The research results will be edited in different formats and will be made available for practice. Apart from the publishing of topic oriented guidelines we plan to develop a compendium on crises and conflict management in family businesses.

The research project includes the realization of quantitative studies with crises experts (insolvency practitioners, crises managers or consultants) to validate research results about process dynamics and influencing factors of entrepreneurial crises in family businesses. In addition to these a qualitative study will analyse the interaction and reciprocal effect of family related conflicts and the failure of family businesses. A further quantitative survey will be developed about existing knowledge by family-external participants involved in crises management with regard to special system conditions in family businesses (Family Awareness). Furthermore, another qualitative study will be executed that will examine in detail specific influencing factors of the course of crises in family businesses by means of individual case studies.

The topic „Crises and Conflicts in Family Businesses“ is a major research focus of the WIFU. Apart from the ongoing research project the WIFU will also realize accompanying studies (among others about the consequences of the economic crisis on family businesses) and supervise graduate theses on single aspects of pro- and reactive conflict and crisis management.

Contact persons: Tom A. Rüsen, Arist von Schlippe, Steffen Großmann

Please see our topic section for further information.