Prof. Dr. Melanie Richards


Arcisstraße 21
80333 Munich

Phone: +49(0)89/ 289 25101
E-Mail: melanie.richards[at]


Melanie Richards is Associate Professor at the TUM School of Management since March 2022. She holds the Chair for Family Business Culture and Ownership, endowed by the EQUA foundation and located at the Munich Campus.

Her research focuses on how family firms’ unique culture affects organisational decision-making and outcomes. Moreover, Melanie Richards’ work seeks to better understand the entrepreneurial and social activities of business families. Thereby her research investigates the families’ financial and non-financial goals, their values and socio-emotional wealth. Her research also analyses family philanthropy and impact investing, which constitute important practical phenomena, yet remain under-theorized in academia.

Prior to joining the TUM School of Management, Melanie Richards was Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Bath. She also worked for the University of Bristol as Assistant Professor in Management and for the University of St. Gallen as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Center for Family Business after receiving her PhD in Management from the University of St. Gallen in September 2015. As part of her PhD education she spent 12 months as Visiting Scholar at Bayes Business School in London. Prior to her academic career, Melanie Richards gained experience as a consultant working for PwC Management-Consulting in London.

Areas of interest

  • Values, Culture and Ownership of Family Enterprises
  • Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Philanthropy and Impact Investing
  • Disruptive Technologies and Innovations


  • Family Business Review (FBR) Excellent Reviewer Award (2023)
  • Family Business Review (FBR) Excellent Reviewer Award (2022)
  • IFERA Best Paper Award (2021)
  • Family Business Review (FBR) Best Article Honorable Mention (2020)
  • The Academy of Management, nominated for Carolyn Dexter Award (2014)
  • IFERA, finalist for Roleski Best CSR Research Paper Award (2014)
  • The Academy of Management, Best Paper Proceedings (ENT) (2014)
  • Konferenz der deutschsprachigen Forschungszentren und Institute für Familienunternehmen, Best Paper Award (2014)
  • The Academy of Management, Distinguished Reviewer Award (ENT) (2013)
  • IFERA Best PhD Research Proposal Award (2013)

Selected current research projects

Family Culture and Organisational Outcomes – What are the unique characteristics of a family business culture and how does this unique culture affect organisational outcomes?

Family Owners, Reputation, and Legitimacy – How are family owners perceived in society? What are family owners’ reputation and legitimisation strategies?

Family Wealth and Social Entrepreneurship – What are the unique characteristics of “Family Philanthropy” and “Family Impact Investing”? How can Business Families collaborate with Social Enterprises?

Key Publications

  • Richards, M (forthcoming). When do Non-financial Goals Benefit Stakeholders? Theorizing on Care and Power in Family Firms. Journal of Business Ethics. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-022-05046-9.
  • Richards, M., Kammerlander, N. and Zellweger, T. (2019). Listening to the heart or the head? Exploring the “willingness versus ability” succession dilemmaFamily Business Review, 32 (4), 330-353.
  • Kammerlander, N., König, A. and Richards, M. (2018). Why do incumbents respond heterogeneously to disruptive innovations? The interplay of domain identity and role identity. Journal of Management Studies, 55 (7), 1122-1165.
  • Richards, M., Zellweger, T. and Gond, JP. (2017). Maintaining moral legitimacy through worlds and words: An explanation of firms’ investment in sustainability certification. Journal of Management Studies, 54 (5), 676-710.
  • Zellweger, T., Richards, M., Sieger, P. and Patel, P. (2016). Exploring the family discount: How institutional logics shape successors’ discount expectations in intergenerational family firm ownership transfers. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40 (5), 1041-1069.
  • Kammerlander, N. and Ganter, M. (2015). An attention-based view of family firm adaptation to discontinuous technologies: Exploring the role of family CEOs’ non-economic goals. Journal of Product Innovation Management (A-ranked, VHB), 32(3), 361-383.