Our research includes the following areas:

The values of family business owners often shape organizational decision-making and firm outcomes. The influence of the owning family on the firm’s values gives rise to a unique organisational culture. This family-influenced culture often differs substantially from the organisational cultures of non-family firms and varies from one family firm to the next.  Our research seeks to understand family owners’ values and their impact by drawing from psychology, sociology and business ethics.

Our research seeks to shed light on the nature of family ownership in different regions of the world, from managing small and medium sized enterprises, to directing diversified business groups or controlling stock listed corporations. Our research analyses the family business landscapes in different regions of the world and their effect on the local economies and societies. We also investigate how family firms navigate the complexities and challenges that may arise in the international business context, such as political instability, labour rights violations and corruption risks.

Influential business families often engage in various social and environmental causes. This phenomenon, known as “Family Philanthropy”, has a far-reaching effect, not only in Germany, but also on societies and communities worldwide. Our research analyses family philanthropy and impact investing, which constitute important practical phenomena, yet remain under-theorized in academia.

A unique characteristic of family businesses is that their owners often experience a socio-emotional desire to present their company in a favourable light, which goes beyond the rational goal of reputation management. Our research seeks to explore how this important characteristic of family owners affects the firms’ legitimacy management, particularly in light of new CSR reporting regulations and emerging sustainability opportunities.