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.

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Contextualizing Family Firms in the Arab World

 

Logo Rodrigo fondo transparente1st International Academic Conference

28th February 2018

 Call for papers:  “Contextualizing Family Firms in the Arab World”

Arab family firms cannot be fully understood without considering the context in which families and firms exist. While contexts determine organizational behavior (Johns, 2006), the footprints of family firms recursively manifest themselves in regional socio-economic contexts (Basco, 2015). Therefore, to fully understand the Arab family firm phenomenon, scholars must go beyond its boundaries by recognizing and exploring the multiple embeddedness of family firms in general. We must consider the micro-context of the family, the meso-context of the industry, and the macro-context of the country/region, all of which are characterized by paradoxes of conflict and peace, stability and instability, certainty and uncertainty, and modernity and tradition (Basco, 2017).

In the Arab World, socio-economic activities have traditionally been embedded in kinship relationships in Bedouin, rural, and urban societies. Families are the dominant institutions through which individuals transmit their culture, legacy, religion, expectations, and traditions and interact in society (Barakat, 1993) by creating their own identity. In this context, Arab families act as a filter absorbing changes caused by contemporary economies, social and economic globalization forces, societal conflicts, political transformations, the influence of the recent colonial past, and cultural pressures from Western and Eastern cultures.

Even though the family business field has gained external legitimacy (Chrisman, Chua, & Steier, 2003; Perez Rodriguez & Basco, 2011), the lack of an overall family business theory is mainly due to the shortage of studies integrating contextual dimensions. A theory of family firms “must explain and predict not only the interaction between family and business systems at the individual and family firm levels but also the interaction between family firms and the environment at the aggregate level” (Basco, 2015, p. 260). In this sense, contextualizing the family firm in the Arab World could help clarify firm familiness (Gomez-Mejia, Cruz, Berrone, & De Castro, 2011; Habbershon & Williams, 1999), which focuses on the effect family has on firm behavior and performance, and regional familiness (Stough, Welter, Block, Wennberg, & Basco, 2015), which focuses on the family firm’s effect on regional development.

The aim of this conference is to advance previous efforts to contextualize the family firm phenomenon in different institutional and cultural environments (e.g., Gupta, Levenburg, Moore, Motwani, & Schwarz, 2008), particularly in the Arab World (e.g., Bizri, 2016; Fahed-Sreih & Djoundourian, 2006; Welsh & Raven, 2006).

We invite submissions to the conference titled “Conceptualizing Family Firms in the Arab World.” The purpose of the conference is to gather researchers who are investigating the family firm phenomenon in the Arab World. We expect that contextualizing family firms in the Arab World will shed new light on the nuances of family firms in terms of their phenomenological perspectives and theoretical development.

Submission Guidelines and deadline

We encourage scholars, especially PhD students and young researchers, whose research focuses directly or indirectly on family businesses in the Arab World to submit their works in progress at different stages. Abstract submission should be one document with a cover page (title, author’s name, affiliation, email) and a two-page abstract (topic of research, theories, method, results, contributions)

Abstract submission should be sent electronically to rbasco@aus.edu

Deadline Abstract by 30/11/2017

Authors Notification by 31/12/2017

Final papers (final submission) by 31/01/2018

 

Conference Highlights

Travel Research Grants

The Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business offers six scholarships for PhD students from the Arab World to travel to and attend the conference. Potential candidates who would like to apply for a travel/accommodation grant should send their application letter and CV with their abstract submission by 30/11/2017.

Career Academy

We have designed a special event for PhD students and young scholars called the Career Academy Workshop to discuss the challenges of developing an academic career in the Arab World. Topics will include matters related to earning a PhD, building an academic career, publishing research, and building local and international networks.

Special Issue

In collaboration with Journal Family Business Strategy, papers presented at the conference will be eligible for a special topic section, “Contextualizing Family Firms in the Arab World.”

Registration

There is no registration fee.

Tentative Program 

27 of February, 2018 Welcome reception, 7pm-10pm, Sharjah

Academic Conference: 28 of February, 2018 – Keynote speakers – Plenary sessions

Business Family Conference: 1 of March, 2018 – Keynote speakers and panel sessions

Venue

American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Organizers

Rodrigo Basco (American University of Sharjah), Alreem Al Ammari (American University of Sharjah), and Farida El Agamy (Tharawat Family Business Forum)

 

 Aus logo (colour)                                                             JFBS

  TFBF Logo - original - 2017                                Sheraa

References

Barakat, H. (1993). The Arab World. Society, culture, and state. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

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). The multiple embeddedness of family firms in Arab World. In S. Basly, P.-L. Saunier, & A. Marouane (Eds.), Family Businesses in the Arab World – Governance, Strategy, and Financing (p. forthcoming).

Bizri, R. (2016). Succession in the family business: drivers and pathways. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 22(1), 133–154.

Chrisman, J. J., Chua, J. H., & Steier, L. P. (2003). An introduction to theories of family business. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(4), 441–448.

Fahed-Sreih, J., & Djoundourian, S. (2006). Determinants of longevity and success in Lebanese family businesses: An exploratory study. Family Business Review, 19(3), 225–234.

Gomez-Mejia, L. R., Cruz, C., Berrone, P., & De Castro, J. (2011). The Bind that Ties: Socioemotional Wealth Preservation in Family Firms. Academy of Management Annals, 5(1), 653–707.

Gupta, V., Levenburg, N., Moore, L., Motwani, J., & Schwarz, T. V. (2008). Culturally-sensitive models of family business in Germanic Europe. Hyderabad, India: ICFA University Press.

Habbershon, T. G., & Williams, M. L. (1999). A Resource-Based Framework for Assessing the Strategic Advantages of Family Firms. Family Business Review, 12(1), 1–25.

Johns, G. (2006). The Essential Impact of Context on Organizational Behavior. Academy of Management Review, 31(2), 386–408.

Perez Rodriguez, M. J., & Basco, R. (2011). The cognitive legitimacy of the family business field. Family Business Review, 24(4).

Stough, R., Welter, F., Block, J., Wennberg, K., & Basco, R. (2015). Family business and regional science: “Bridging the gap.” Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(4), 208–218.

Welsh, D. H. B., & Raven, P. (2006). Family business in the Middle East: An exploratory study of retail management in Kuwait and Lebanon. Family Business Review, 19(1), 29–48.

What kind of successor are you?

Successor

By Rodrigo Basco, Ph.D.

The founder said – “there’s an opportunity” and created the company. He took risks, developed an original idea and the business prospered. The integration and allocation of available resources, both tangible (e.g., capital) and intangible (e.g., know-how, relationships and contacts) to pursue an idea make the difference between an entrepreneur and a non-entrepreneur. Let’s call the founder an entrepreneur. What about his/her successors? The successors belong to a different race.

  • They are the Smith family. Yes, them! They amassed a large fortune. The father, a brilliant engineer with good business ideas, set up a company in the field of high precision medical equipment. The three people behind him are his children, well educated and with a great living standard. Even though they all work in the company, they make a living from the company’s profits. All three children represent the ‘consumer successors’ living from the income generated by the previous generation. ‘While it lasts …’- I guess they think. The firm operates on automatic pilot, nothing is new since the father created it.
  • Those who are next, all grouped together, are the Perez family. Perez’s children don’t work for the company or have an interest in it. But they all live from firm’s profits. The Perez family considers the company to be like the State: nobody wants to pay taxes (i.e., work) but they all require good public services (i.e., rents). They are ‘scavenger successors’. The firm is immersed in a slow process of decay. It is difficult to move the firm out from this specific firm-family dynamic routine. Today the firm is in a vicious circle based on an extractive model of wealth that is a breeding ground for future family conflicts. However, there’s a possibility, in the near future, that one of Perez’s grandchildren may give to the firm a new life with breakthrough ideas and taking risks and opportunities.
  • The laggards are the Retegi’s family, an enterprising family. From the farm to new technologies. Each generation has managed to re-create the company, re-invent it. Each generation has changed the direction of the company in new and different areas, discovering and taking opportunities while using the resources and abilities, and know-how from previous generations. The entrepreneurial genetic code of the firm is the hallmark. Each successor has challenged the status quo that sprang from the success of the previous generations, imposing new leadership, new goals and new ambitions. These are the ‘entreprenurial successors’.

And you – What kind of successor are you?

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