STUDYING

FAMILY BUSINESSES

THE WIFU OFFERS A UNIQUE RANGE OF STUDIES IN THE GERMAN-SPEAKING AREA


From Bachelor to Master to PhD/Habilitation – Our range of courses covers the entire university educational career. We offer you the opportunity to acquire in-depth, practical knowledge on the subject “family business”, regardless of whether you are a business administration student or a non-specialist student. The special practical relevance is achieved through a unique network of family businesses and family business researchers that has evolved over two decades. This opens up a variety of career opportunities for our graduates in the field of family businesses.

Our courses examine family entrepreneurship from various angles:

  • Business Administration (e.g. strategy development)
  • Psychology/sociology (e.g. psychology of succession)
  • Law (e.g. tax law in family businesses)

This allows our students to gain a transdisciplinary, holistic view of the world’s most important form of business organisation.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (B.SC.) SPECIALISING IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP


Students enrolled in our Bachelor’s degree programme (B.Sc.) have the option to take seminars on family businesses as part of the specialising subject “Entrepreneurship”. Building on Tagiuri’s and Davis’ three-circle model (family, business, ownership), the seminars „Grundlagen des Familienunternehmens“ (“Fundamentals of the Family Business”), „Psychologie der Familienunternehmen“ (“Psychology of Family Businesses”) and „Rechtliche Grundlagen von Familienunternehmen“ (“Legal Fundamentals of Family Businesses”) provide the necessary skill set. These foundations are supplemented by important entrepreneurial competences in further seminars. Topics include for example technology, digitisation and innovation management or business model innovation.

Course overview

WIFU-Courses as part of the Bachelor’s Degree

Programme “Management (B.Sc.)”

Fundamentals of the Family Business - understanding family businesses


Short description: The course provides a basic overview of the peculiarities and dynamics of family businesses as a distinct type of business. First, students will be given a multi-perspective insight into the interrelations between the spheres of influence of the family, the circle of partners and the firm. For the participation in a family business or the succession in the management task of a family business it is elementary to recognize in which form the “family factor” of the family business is relevant. On the basis of the theoretical content conveyed, the concepts learned are applied practically using a case study and critically discussed with a representative from a business family.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Tom A. Rüsen
Frequency/ Duration: Summer semester


Psychology of Family Businesses


Short description: In order to understand family businesses, classical business models, theories and findings should be extended to include psychological and other sociological, e.g. pedagogical perspectives. After all, families that play a decisive role in this form of business are supported by their members’ strong emotional ties, for example between couples, children and parents. This can be beneficial for family businesses, but can also be a risk factor. In this seminar, we look at these opportunities and threats of familial dynamics for family businesses, especially from a socio-psychological and sociological point of view.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve
Frequency/ Duration: Winter semester


Tax Law in Family Businesses


Short description: In the context of an introduction to general tax law, the following topics will first be dealt with: Legal forms and taxes at a glance, tax concept and types of taxation, sources of tax law, principles of tax law and basic principles of procedural law. In the further course of the event, an introduction to corporate tax law with the following focal points will follow: The nature of corporate income tax, personal tax liability, objective tax liability, beginning of corporate income tax liability, taxation procedures and fiscal unity. A subsequent introduction to income tax law covers the basics, the various types of income, the types of income as well as the determination of profits in the entrepreneurial field. Finally, the event introduces the topic of trade tax (overview, trade income, tariff).
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Rainer Kirchdörfer
Module coordinator: Prof. Dr. Christoph Schreiber
Frequency/ Duration: Summer semester


Legal Fundamentals of Family Businesses


Short description: The module element provides an overview of the fundamental issues in the field of family business law. It deals with ​​family law, inheritance law, corporate law and tax law. The discussions take place both in a theoretical form and on the basis of practical examples. In this way, the respective problems that occur in the most important case-forms within the respective legal fields are discussed. The topics covered include the most important contractual arrangements, liability issues, conflict avoidance and prevention in family businesses, financing issues and an overview of corporate succession.
Responsible lecturer: Dr. iur. Rainer Kögel
Module coordinator: Prof. Dr. Christoph Schreiber
Frequency/ Duration: Winter semester


Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship (Family Law and Inheritance Law)


Short description: Family law and inheritance law not only play a key role in business practice, but above all in family businesses. Succession models cannot be seriously thought through without basic knowledge in this area of law. The course aims to close this gap and, in addition to providing an introduction to the subject matter, also to provide an overview of cross-references in tax law. The teaching content is taught on the basis of practical cases.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Christoph Schreiber
Frequency/ Duration: Summer semester

MASTER OF ARTS (M.A.) IN GENERAL MANAGEMENT SPECIALISING IN „FAMILY BUSINESS MANAGEMENT“


The Master programme “General Management” (M.A.) aims at students, who are interested in family businesses and business families, but who did not study economics in their bachelor degree programme. For instance, students with a bachelor’s degree in the humanities, engineering or natural sciences will be taught basic management skills, that allow them to prepare for a management career in their own family business.

The specialising subject “Family Business Management” focusses on the strategic management of the interface of business family and family business. Modules in this specialising subject include, among others: theories of the business family, conflicts and conflict management in family businesses, crisis management, restructuring and redevelopment in family businesses, legal bases for the succession and strategies of family businesses.

Course overview

MASTER OF SCIENCE (M.SC.) IN STRATEGY & ORGANISATION


The Master programme “Strategy & Organisation” (M.Sc.) aims at students who have a Bachelor’s degree in economics and, for example, aspire a career in management or consulting. Building on the foreknowledge of the students and a strong scientific foundation, the current state of knowledge on strategic management and the design of organisational structures and processes is conveyed. The subjects range from strategic decisions in internationalisation, brand management, CSR and ethical aspects to corporate culture, change management and innovative organisational structures. The special characteristics of family businesses are also addressed in this course. Moreover, special events relating to the field of study are offered. Study certificates can be acquired via the WIFU.

Course overview

WIFU-Courses as part of the Master’s Degree Programmes “General Management (M.A.)” and “Strategy and Organization (M.Sc.)”

 

Theory of the Business Family and the Family Business


Short description: In this seminar, the basics and recent developments of the systemic theory of the business family and the family business are presented and discussed on the basis of practical examples. The starting point of the seminar is the thesis that families and businesses do not fit together structurally and with regard to their respective forms of communication. How nevertheless such a fitting in long-lived and successful family businesses succeeds again and again and obviously very lastingly, is the central knowledge-guiding question of the course.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve
Frequency/ Duration: Summer semester


Strategies of Family Businesses


Short description: Strategy development as an entrepreneurial response to unpredictability manifests itself in many different forms. More important than applying the “tools” is to become aware of the premises that you are traveling with. In addition, a family business is concerned with balancing the tension between business and family with a clever family strategy in addition to a creative corporate strategy.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Marcel Hülsbeck / Prof. Dr. Arist von Schlippe/ Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wimmer
Frequency/ Duration: Summer semester


Conflicts and Conflict Management, especially in Family Businesses


Short description: Once conflicts have been “ignited”, they are governed by their own psychological laws. If one knows these, one can better understand and work on the dynamics. Family businesses represent a special context condition that can greatly increase the likelihood of conflicts.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Arist von Schlippe
Frequency/ Duration:
Winter semester


Crisis Management, Restructuring and Redevelopment in Family Businesses


Short description:
In the course, the essential steps for restructuring and redevelopment of family businesses will be presented and tested in a case study under “crisis-like” conditions in small groups.
Responsible lecturer:
Prof. Dr. Tom A. Rüsen
Frequency/ Duration:
Winter semester


Legal Aspects of Succession in Family Businesses


Short description:
In the form of a case study dealing with succession in family businesses, the course will shed light on the inheritance law, corporate law, tax law and psychological problems of the succession process. The course will be held together with students of law from the University of Bayreuth (Prof. Dr. K.-W. Lange) and will thus have a special interdisciplinary character.
Responsible lecturer: Prof. Rainer Kirchdörfer / Prof. Dr. Christoph Schreiber
Frequency/ Duration:
Summer semester


Systemic Leadership and Decision-Making in Family Businesses


Short description:
Systems theory is particularly suitable for describing and explaining family businesses in their dynamics, their potentials and their conflicts as well as for supporting them through consulting and coaching. Both perspectives will be deepened in the seminar: The first part is about developing a systemic understanding of this corporate form with regard to leadership and decision-making processes. Secondly, systemic procedures, methods and techniques of consulting and coaching are presented and practiced, which can support actors within this form of business to design problematic leadership and decision-making situations appropriately.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Responsible lecturer: Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve
Frequency/ Duration:
Winter semester


Current Issues: Family Business Management


Short description:
The module “Current Issues: Family Business Management” is held once a year in the faculty. Students can submit suggestions for topics and decide, in a procedure organized by the module managers, which question should be addressed in the module.
Responsible lecturer:
Prof. Dr. Marcel Hülsbeck
Frequency/ Duration:
Summer semester


Independent Project – Independent Study of Major Family Business Management


Short description:
Independent projects and independent studies enable students to work on questions of their own choice and to individualise their studies beyond the options offered by the curriculum. In this module, students can either write papers on topics from the field of Family Business Management or carry out and reflect on practical projects on aspects of Family Business Management.
Responsible lecturer:
Prof. Dr. Marcel Hülsbeck
Frequency/ Duration:
Constantly

TARGET GROUP


Our Bachelor (B.Sc.) and Master (M.A./M.Sc.) programmes are designed for students who wish to study the dynamics, interactions and challenges between family and business in family businesses. These include:

  • Successors and potential shareholders from business families who wish to prepare themselves for their future leadership roles.
  • Future professionals and managers in family businesses, who wish to help shape the development of their organisations from a position of responsibility.
  • Persons who strive to work as consultants in family businesses.
  • Family-external managers and consultants who wish to acquire competences in the field of family entrepreneurship.

The WIFU Graduate College is aimed at university graduates who are interested in transdisciplinary family business research and who are seeking a scientific career at home or abroad.

To promote young scientists, the WIFU Foundation awards two types of scholarships:

CAMPUSday


Our CAMPUSday gives you the opportunity to find out more about the courses of study offered at UW/H. In addition to the economics courses, there will are also be information events about the degree programmes offered at the Faculty of Health and Culture.

CAMPUSday

 

MASTERday


Our MASTERday allows you to familiarise yourself with the different Master programmes offered at the three faculties at UW/H. For economic studies this includes: General Management (M.A.), Strategy & Organisation (M.Sc.) and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (M.A.).

MASTERday

DOCTORATE AND POSTDOCTORATE AT WIFU

Those interested in research can to obtain a doctorate or habilitation in family business at our WIFU Graduate College. The central component of the Graduate College is the newly established WIFU Research Camp.

 

More information

IMPRESSIONS


Practical visit of the family business “Murtfeldt Kunststoffe GmbH & Co. KG” as part of the seminar "fundamentals of the family business"

Moot Court for business administration students – A simulated trial at the district court of Bochum

Presentation of an open innovation strategy to the management of “Albrecht Jung GmbH & Co.KG”

Case analysis on the practical example of the “WTK Heinrich Stratmann GmbH”

INFO


You will find detailed information and all the application documents and deadlines at the Witten/Herdecke University’s website:

www.uni-wh.de

CONTACT