Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transitional Economies

Family Business in EmergingEURAM 2019

26th – 28th June (Lisbon – Portugal)


Track: Family Business in Emerging, Developing, and Transitional Economies

Call for Papers – Family Business in Emerging Economies

Join us

Jess Chua (Lancaster University)

Claire Seaman (Queen Margaret University)

Allan Discua (Lancaster University)

Vanessa Ratten (La Trobe University)

Marcel Bogers (University of Copenhagen)

Rodrigo Basco (American University of Sharjah)


Activity Report 2017-2018 – Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business at AUS

UntitledClick here for downloading the PDF file Activity Report 2017_2018

The Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business at American University of Sharjah (AUS) was established in 2015 with the goal of becoming a recognized family business knowledge hub in regional, national, and international contexts. Our mission is to provide sustainable support to family firms by creating value for business families and regional communities through research and teaching activities that strive to connect past, present, and future family generations.

The 2017–2018 academic year was a productive and successful time for the Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business. Our team designed, developed, and promoted a set of research, teaching, and knowledge-transfer activities to generate ground-breaking knowledge of family businesses useful for supporting sustainable firms and cohesive and happy families.

The Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business would like to thank to those individuals and institutions that supported our mission and collaborated in our activities. Our wider commitment to family firms is to boost, expand, and consolidate the regional competitiveness of the Emirates of Sharjah.

Dr. Rodrigo Basco


Millennials’ Family Business Goals


If you would you like to know the meaning that new generation of family members assign to their firms in the United Arab Emirates check the report that we prepared at Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business – American University of Sharjah.

Click here: Millennials’ Family Business Goals




Family Business in the Arab World

 Is there any lesson that can be learned from family business in the Arab World?

DSC_0964This was the question that motivated my curiosity when I decided to lead the first Family Business in the Arab World academic conference in partnership with Tharawat Family Business Forum and Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center hosted at American University of Sharjah. The two-day conference format was a successful event that gathered more than 150 participants, including academics, practitioners, business families, and students from all around the world. This conference was organized to honor Sheikh Saoud Khalid Al Qassimi’s legacy, a Sharjah businessman who founded a family business back in the 1970s that is now in its third generation.

I opened the academic day with one idea: “I believe that understanding family and business ties by exploring the cultural and historical perspective of the Arab World could bring invaluable inputs to the family business field.” Authors representing universities from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, India, Spain, Oman, Kuwait, Palestine, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, France, Australia, Germany, Morocco, Greece, Egypt, Bahrein, Afghanistan, Italy, and Malaysia shared their research. This exchange of ideas about how the family business phenomenon is understood in different cultures within the Arab World challenged participants’ knowledge and interpretations of family business management. We discussed a variety of topics, including family business entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship, and family business ownership and management as well as the challenges the next generation of family business members face in the Arab World.

I hope that the rich and colorful debate we had will be reflected in the way we investigate and unpack the role of economic activities in family relationships in the Arab World. It is expected that the outcomes of this conference will be captured in a special issue of the Journal of Family Business Strategy titled Family Business in the Arab World, which will have four guest editors: Rania Labaki, Marcel Bogers, Norris Krueger, and myself (Rodrigo Basco).

DSC_1311The second day had a practical vision and our intention was to debate the challenges of family business in the Arab World with existing business families. We believe that interaction and idea exchange between and among generations is necessary to shape the future of the family and the firm. We are responsible for our family businesses, and this responsibility starts the moment we imagine the future vision of our families and firms.

We had three panels to discuss the future of family business in the Arab World. The first panel focused on the macro perspective to identify the conditions under which family firms operate in the region and the challenges that emerge for family firms. Arab economies are basically, at least to a certain extent, characterized by family business capitalism with differences and similarities that make the model more or less successful. For instance, the development of the UAE was based on family business along with clear leadership from the state. Family businesses are the backbone of economic and social development in this region. Even though family business capitalism has been a successful model, I wonder to what extent this model can be replicated for the future. There is an economic and social risk of being locked in a family business network without being open to future technological revolutions. It is my personal opinion that the UAE should be able to move from a family business ecosystem to an entrepreneurial family business ecosystem, and we must consider how family businesses in the region can catch up to the technological revolution while simultaneously generating new ideas.

The second panel focused on the innovation perspective at the firm level to identify how family businesses in the Arab World can be protagonist in future national and international economies. The abundance of natural resources in some Arab countries, such as those belonging to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), were the key advantage to sustain their economic and social development. Is this a successful model for the next 40 years? My answer is no. This model has to be complemented with an open vision of the economy to avoid the traditional Dutch Disease[1]. I believe that this is possible by preparing family business organizations to gradually innovate in products, services, marketing, and management, among other areas. How can we prepare family businesses in the Arab World for open innovation? Family businesses’ embeddedness in the region opens the possibility for them to lead the exchange of ideas by being part of the change. The challenge is to prepare our organizations to adopt open innovation without jeopardizing the principles and values that inspire each organization.

The last panel focused on the entrepreneurial spirit of the new generation of family members. It is in the hands of the new generation of family members in the Arab World to interpret the past, present, and future of their region, understand their position in history, and implement actions that situate their businesses as part of the change. They have to be responsible for leading their family firms and for integrating their firms into the national vision to maintain economic and social development and be part of the bigger community—the global world. The new generation of family business members in the Arab world is responsible for improving communication among family business generations, respecting tradition and preserving values and principles that are part of their culture by being open to new ideas, and leading the change to create a peaceful region with economic and social possibilities for everyone who wants to be part of this ecosystem.

What is the difference between family business in the Arab World and family business beyond?

DSC_1357The closing of the event was impressive. Anna Helen Northam gave life and voice to Hadrian’s thoughts regarding his successor (he was Roman emperor from 117 to 138). Further, in “Memories of Hadrian,” Marguerite Yourcenar argued that the basic human being condition transcends time and culture: “It is not by blood, anyhow, that man’s true continuity is established: Alexander’s direct heir is Caesar, and not the frail infant born of a Persian princess in an Astatic Citadel; Epaminondas, dying without issue, was right to boast that he had Victories for daughters. Most men who figure in history have but mediocre offspring, or worse; they seem to exhaust within themselves the resource of a race. A father’s affection is almost always in conflict with the interests of a ruler.”

We are human beings, and no matter where we are, we have similar needs, expectations, and desires; we are fragile, and we are threatened for by an unpredictable future. In this sense, family businesses across the world are the same. However, family businesses across the world differ in how they try to satisfy their needs, fulfill their expectations, achieve their desires, and fight against their own ghosts. Differences come from dissimilar cultural patterns, geographical conditions, and historical patterns, all of which make us different and make us react in different ways.

[1] Financial Times: “Dutch disease is the negative impact on an economy of anything that gives rise to a sharp inflow of foreign currency, such as the discovery of large oil reserves. The currency inflows lead to currency appreciation, making the country’s other products less price competitive on the export market”.

What is good for your family firm is good for you!

PhotoWhat is good for your family firm is good for you, but the other way around is not true,” said Sheikh Sultan Al Qassemi in the Guest Lecture Series hosted by Prof. Rodrigo Basco. “Family is about emotions and how to manage them for continuity.”

In the interactive session, titled “The Experience from Two Generations,” Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi and his nephew, Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qassimi, emphasized the importance of emotional intelligence and strategic dialogue when communicating with family members in a professional arena.

Drawing on their own experiences, the guest lecturers explained the importance for new-generation family business members to listen and to learn but to not directly confront the generation in charge. Finding alternative solutions to convince family members to implement family and/or business changes is the best way to strategically manage family businesses in the Arab world. The lesson they transmitted was “adapt your strategies to the cultural context of the Arab world. Respect tradition without confrontation, but look for opportunities to introduce changes necessary to keep your family united and the business working.” “The key to cohesion and efficiency,” Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi said, “is understanding the essence of those you’re working with.”

Saud Al Qassemi spoke about the uncertainty he experienced after graduating from university. He had assumed that he would be included within his family business after merely a few months of training. “I was wrong,” he said with a laugh. “When I asked my uncle if I could join, he simply said no.” Instead, Saud Al Qassimi spent the next couple years learning and gaining experience working in numerous banks in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. It was only after having spent a considerable amount of time abroad that he joined his family’s business.

However, his experience, extensive as it might have seemed, was not enough to prepare him for working alongside his family. “I found out that working in a bank is a completely different experience,” he said. “Working in a family business is something else entirely. I don’t think it’s something you can actually prepare for.”

Photo 3Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi and Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qassimi’s session is one of the initiatives headed by Dr. Rodrigo Basco, Chairholder of the Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al Qassimi Chair in Family Business, aiming to disseminate new knowledge to the student community and to further develop the future leaders of family businesses in the UAE, GCC, and MENA regions.

Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business

Report 2016-2017 Family Business Chair_Page_1A fruitful and productive year of diverse activities has been completed by the Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business. The period from September 2016 to August 2017 was the first full academic year allowing our agenda to be unfolded in multiple strands following the three main pillars – research, teaching, and knowledge transfer – that were defined by Prof. Rodrigo Basco in pursuit of academic and research excellence. The past year yielded a number of substantial achievements in line with the Chair’s mission that we are pleased to share in this annual report.

Report 2016-2017 Family Business Chair


CALL FOR PAPERS – Journal of Family Business Management


Guest Editors:

Albert James, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, Canada

Elias Hadjielias, University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus

Maribel Guerrero, Northumbria University, UK

Allan Discua Cruz, Lancaster University Management School, UK

Rodrigo Basco, American University of Sharjah, Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business, UAE

Families in business are an essential component of the socioeconomic landscape of towns, cities and regions around the world (Basco & Bartkeviciute, 2016; Guerrero et al., 2013; Howorth, Rose, Hamilton, & Westhead, 2010; Seaman, 2015). Entrepreneurial families in business can be broadly interpreted as a phenomenon where several members of a family create and develop one or more business enterprises over time (Hamilton, Discua Cruz, & Jack, 2017; Nordqvist & Melin, 2010). Our understanding of families in business to date is supported by the acknowledgement that entrepreneurship is inextricably linked to family (Aldrich & Cliff, 2003; Heck et al., 2006; Olson et al., 2003; Williams, Zorn, Russell Crook, & Combs, 2013). However, context and time have been scarcely integrated to frame the study of entrepreneurial families in business.

Time is a dimension that affects individual behavior and, consequently, those institutions, such as family and business, in which they are embedded. The objective interpretation of time, as a linear and regular pattern which is irreversible, could be used to explore and explain the start-up, development and exit of entrepreneurial economic activities of families (Drakopoulou Dodd, Anderson, & Jack, 2013) which may impact on management complexity, portfolios or spin offs and further entrepreneurial activities. Time is important because of its subjective intepretation, grounded on the meaning that cultures associate to it (Ancona, Okhuysen, & Perlow, 2001), which may alter the interpretation of the entrepreneurship phenomenon itself as well as the perception and subsequent entrepreneurial behaviour across cultures at the individual, group, and firm level. Scholars are called to understand the dynamics that motivate a family to keep a busines under family control over time (Tucker, 2011) often developing tailored managerial forms of control (Botero, Gomez Betancourt, Betancourt Ramirez, & Lopez Vergara, 2015), often challenging long standing ideologies within their firms (Johannisson & Huse, 2000). Similarly scholars are called to understant the effect of entrepreneurship on families and the desire to maintain control of their business (Jennings, Breitkreuz, & James, 2013).

Context is what is beyond the phenomenon itself, and the demarcation between them is composed of both a physical and cognitive aspects (Basco, 2015). While context has traditionally represented the formal and informal institutions that shape the phenomenon of entrepreneurial families in business (North, 1990; Scott, 1995), recent work suggests that there are multiple and overlapping embedded contexts (Basco, 2017), which may influence the practice of entrepreneurship in entrepreneurial families in business (Welter, 2011). Recently, in a study of a rural cooperative comprised of family businesses, Hadjielias & Poutziouris (2015) explored the dynamics bringing together families in business from diffferent business contexts. Their findings underscore that context is important for entrepreneurial families to engage in entrepreneurial activities collectively. Contexts such as industrial districts (Johannisson et al., 2007) and entrepreneurial environments (Guerrero et al., 2013), as well as endogenous, exogenous and temporal aspects (Wright, Chrisman, Chua, & Steier, 2014) merit close attention. Further studies around context and its physical/cognitive as well as formal/informal demarcations can help develop theories of entrepreneurial families in business and contextualise the phenomenon.

A focus on entrepreneurial families in business underscores a family perspective on entrepreneurship by considering three levels of analysis: individual, group and firm (Discua Cruz & Basco, 2017). Each level calls for interdisciplinary studies with different dimensions and relationships to be explored through time and within contexts. For example, at the individual level, the influence of family in entrepreneurship has been discussed by Aldrich and Cliff (2003) (2003), yet more work is needed to unpack how family dynamics influence the initial steps in an entrepreneurial process in particular contexts and time. Further works at the group level approach could help contextualize the interactions of family members as building blocks for creating collective rules, patterns, goals and expectations that influence a family group/team dynamics when creating or pursuing business opportunities (Discua Cruz, Hadjielias, & Howorth, 2017; Discua Cruz, Howorth, & Hamilton, 2013). Finally, at firm level, the interaction between family firm and corporate entrepreneurship needs more research in order to better understand the cross-family and cross-cultural differences that may affect corporate venturing, renewal strategies, and innovation.

In theorizing entrepreneurial families in business around time and context we attempt to advance our understanding around recent calls to explore further the link between family, context, time and entrepreneurship (Drakopoulou Dodd et al., 2013; Randerson, Bettinelli, Dosena, & Fayolle, 2015; Seaman, 2015; Welter, 2011). Thus, a special focus on generations, context, and culture for studying entrepreneurial families in business around the world is warranted. To advance understanding around entrepreneurial families in business this special issue aims to consider conceptual, qualitative and quantitative empirical studies from around the world. Theoretical and conceptual research contributions are also welcomed. As the study of entrepreneurial families in business is multidisciplinary, we encourage cross-disciplinary approaches to advance our understanding. Questions and themes that can be submitted and developed for this special issue include, yet are not limited to:

Entrepreneurial families in business

  • What are the entrepreneurial features of families in business?
  • How do entrepreneurial families in business influence a transgenerational entrepreneurship behavior?
  • What kind of family identities and goals do entrepreneurial families embrace?
  • How does the entrepreneurial behaviour of families in business influence firm performance?
  • How and why do entrepreneurial families in business engage in habitual entrepreneurship behaviour?
  • Why do certain entrepreneurial families in business prefer to cooperate with other families in business?


  • How does family life cycles influence entrepreneurial families in business?
  • How business life and product life cycle affect entrepreneurial families in business?
  • How and why some families in business are more entrepreneurial than others?
  • What kind of cognitive processes do entrepreneurial families develop in order to discover and exploit opportuities?
  • How do families in business develop and sustain entrepreneurial opportunities across generations?
  • How does the perception of time by entrepreneurial families affect the dimensions of firm entrepreneurial behavior?
  • How do entrepreneurial families in business address succession processes in family business?
  • How do entrepreneurial families in business influence local, regional institutions over time?
  • How does family life-cycle affect a family’s entrepreneurial activity?


  • Do features of entrepreneurial families in business vary across cultures? What kind of feature differences in terms of managerial philosophy, identities, and family goals can we find across cultures?
  • Is there any link between entrepreneurial institutions and entrepreneurial families?
  • To what extent do particular contextual dimensions (e.g formal/informal, physical/cognitive) affect entrepreneurial families?
  • What are the origins and evolution of entrepreneurial families in business families across contexts?
  • What do concepts of what family is (extent, membership, responsibilities, relationships, etc.) mean for family entrepreneurial activity?
  • How do cooperatives become contexts for the collective practice of entrepreneurship between families in business?

We invite submissions to a special issue of Journal of Family Business Management around the topic of “Entrepreneurial families in business across generations, contexts and cultures”. All papers will be subject to the usual review process and must meet the publication standards of the journal.

This special issue is a collaboration with Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC), which will be hold in Mexico in June 2018: Family Traditions & Culture: Values and legacy in Entrepreneurial Families.

Additional Information

Authors should follow the guidelines as stated in the Information for Contributors of Manuscripts. Manuscripts should be submitted to no later than September 15, 2018. Authors should indicate “Special Issue” as the manuscript type and should specify that the submission is for the special issue on “ENTREPRENEURIAL FAMILIES IN BUSINESS ACROSS GENERATIONS AND CULTURES” in their cover letter. Please contact Albert James (Albert.James@Dal.Ca), Elias Hadjielias (, Maribel Guerrero (, Allan Discua Cruz (, Rodrigo Basco ( if you have any questions about the special issue.



Aldrich, H. E., & Cliff, J. E. (2003). The pervasive effects of family on entrepreneurship: toward a family embeddedness perspective. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 573–596.

Ancona, D. G., Okhuysen, G. A., & Perlow, L. A. (2001). Taking Time to Integrate Temporal Research. The Academy of Management Review, 26(4), 512–529.

Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional development-A theoretical model of regional familiness. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(4), 259–271.

Basco, R. (2017). Epilogue: Multiple embeddedness contexts for entrepreneurship. In M. Ramírez-Pasillas, E. Brundin, & M. Markowska (Eds.), Contextualizing Entrepreneurship in developing and emerging economies (pp. 329–336). London: Edward Edgar.

Basco, R., & Bartkeviciute, I. (2016). Is there any room form family business into European Union 2020 Strategy? Family business and regional public policy. Local Economy, 31(6), 709–732.

Botero, I. C., Gomez Betancourt, G., Betancourt Ramirez, J. B., & Lopez Vergara, M. P. (2015). Family protocols as governance tools: Understanding why and how family protocols are important in family firms. Journal of Family Business Management, 5(2), 218–237.

Discua Cruz, A., & Basco, R. (2017). A family perspective on Entrepreneurship. In N. Turcan R & Fraser (Ed.), A Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Entrepreneurship (p. forthcoming). Palgrave.

Discua Cruz, A., Hadjielias, E., & Howorth, C. (2017). Family entrepreneurial teams. In C. Ben-hafaiedh & T. Cooney (Eds.), Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Teams: Theory and Practice (C. Ben-Haf). UK: Edward Edgar.

Discua Cruz, A., Howorth, C., & Hamilton, E. (2013). Intrafamily Entrepreneurship: The Formation and Membership of Family Entrepreneurial Teams. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(1), 17–46.

Drakopoulou Dodd, S., Anderson, A., & Jack, S. (2013). Being in time and the family owned firm. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 29(1), 35–47.

Guerrero, M., Peña-Legazkue, I., Marshall, A., Gras, G., Mira, I., & Coduras, A. (2013). Entrepreneurial activity and regional development: an introduction to this special issue. Investigaciones Regionales, 26, 5–15.

Hadjielias, E., & Poutziouris, P. (2015). On the conditions for the cooperative relations between family businesses: the role of trust. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 21(6), 867–897.

Hamilton, E., Discua Cruz, A., & Jack, S. (2017). Re-framing the status of narrative in family business research: Towards an understanding of families in business. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 8(1), 3–12.

Heck, R., Danes, S., Fitzgerald, M. A., Haynes, G., Jasper, C., Schrank, H., … Winter, M. (2006). The family’s dynamic role within family business entrepreneurship. In P. Poutziouris, K. Smyrnios, & S. Klein (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Family Business (pp. 80–124). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Howorth, C., Rose, M., Hamilton, E., & Westhead, P. (2010). Family firm diversity and development: An introduction. International Small Business Journal, 28(5), 437–451.

Jennings, J. E., Breitkreuz, R. S., & James, A. E. (2013). When Family Members Are Also Business Owners: Is Entrepreneurship Good for Families? Family Relations, 62(3), 472–489.

Johannisson, B., Caffarena, L. C., Cruz, A. F. D., Epure, M., Pérez, E. H., Kapelko, M., … Bisignano, A. (2007). Interstanding the industrial district: contrasting conceptual images as a road to insight. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 19(6), 527–554.

Johannisson, B., & Huse, M. (2000). Recruiting outside board members in the small family business: an ideological challenge. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 12(4), 353–378.

Nordqvist, M., & Melin, L. (2010). Entrepreneurial families and family firms. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 22(3–4), 211–239.

North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge university press.

Olson, P. D., Zuiker, V. S., Danes, S. M., Stafford, K., Heck, R. K. Z., & Duncan, K. A. (2003). The impact of the family and the business on family business sustainability. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 639–666.

Randerson, K., Bettinelli, C., Dosena, C., & Fayolle, A. (2015). Family Entrepreneurship: Rethinking the research agenda. NY: Routledge.

Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Seaman, C. (2015). Creating space for the business family: Networks, social capital & family businesses in rural development. Journal of Family Business Management, 5(2), 182–191.

Tucker, J. (2011). Keeping the business in the family and the family in business: “What is the legacy?” Journal of Family Business Management, 1(1), 65–73.

Welter, F. (2011). Contextualizing Entrepreneurship-Conceptual Challenges and Ways Forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165–184.

Williams, D. W., Zorn, M. L., Russell Crook, T., & Combs, J. G. (2013). Passing the Torch: Factors Influencing Transgenerational Intent in Family Firms. Family Relations, 62(3), 415–428.

Wright, M., Chrisman, J. J., Chua, J. H., & Steier, L. P. (2014). Family Enterprise and Context. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38(6), 1247–1260.



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