• Experiments in Family Firms. Resistance to outside contributions: knowledge preferences or something else?

The objective of the project is to understand whether the decision of an entrepreneur to open or not, his own family business to outside assistance, is linked to a lack of knowledge on the benefits they could get by opening their business to the outside or to a matter of preference.

  • Organizing for the future

The project examines the impact of digital technology on strategic decision-making and performance of established firms. The adoption of digital technology (e.g., Internet of Things, cloud computing and artificial intelligence) favors the spread of data-driven decision making, which relies less on intuition (experience) and more on data collection, data analysis, experimentation and hypotheses testing, and data sharing. However, a growing body of studies suggest that data-driven decision making is still unevenly diffused across firms, with only few firms having transformed technology from a supporting tool to a strategic weapon. Our project analyzes the experience of a large multinational firm that has created a digital division and is facing the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation. The analysis draws on information collected through in-depth interviews with top and middle managers along with data on a sample of digital projects carried out by the digital division in collaboration with other divisions of the company.

  • The development of entrepreneurial leadership in family firms.

General leadership literature consistently points to a set of individual features that candidates must have in order to be conferred leadership status by followers. No distinction is made between leadership characteristics that are more suitable to family vs. non-family firms, in particular when family firms require entrepreneurial innovations to survive and prosper. Some traits that make an individual more likely to be endorsed as a leader are probably common to both family and non-family firms (e.g., competence, likability). However, research and anecdotal evidence show that appointed leaders who show “traditional” leadership traits are sometimes not accepted by family members. In this research project we investigate how unique family firm dynamics may require different or additional traits that followers may see as unsuitable or un-needed to leadership within a non-family firm. Examples of these traits are an inclusive approach, an other-serving (vs. self-serving) attitude, an attitude towards listening, and an attitude towards dialogue. The project adopts an experimental method, which allows to systematically test how different leadership traits are preferred and more effective in family firms, while controlling for a number of possible confounding factors.  

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