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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The role of the family champion
by Nacht, Joshua G., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2015, 217; 3712740
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative research study explored the characteristics, emergence, and engagement of people who occupy the role of the family champion in family-enterprise systems. The family champion is a next-generation leader who emerges from within the ownership group of a family-enterprise system and who works to develop the ownership, governance, and relational capabilities of the family-owners to support their goals of success. This study investigated the interdependent exchanges between individual family champions, the family-ownership group, and their family-enterprise systems. Much of the existing research on leadership within family-enterprises has focused on leadership for the business entity. This study focused specifically on leadership within the family-ownership group. Ownership of an enterprise by a family has long been cited as a strategic asset. A need exists for further understanding of the role and function of leadership within the family-owners.

This study explored the characteristics, emergence, and engagement of 14 primary family champions through semi-structured qualitative interviews. An additional eight supporting interviews were conducted with another family member who was familiar with the primary interviewee to provide a complimentary perspective. The research was discovery based and designed to explore the experiences of family champions. The extensive interviews were transcribed and analyzed utilizing grounded theory principles with the assistance of NVivo 10 qualitative analysis software.

This research revealed a rich interaction between the context of family-enterprise systems, the characteristics of family champions, and systemic shift points that created the awareness of the need for leadership. The family champions worked to develop the family-ownership group through a cycle of engagement, to produce an advanced family-enterprise system. Four main themes linked to issues in family-enterprises emerged: The systemic context of family-enterprises, the process of leadership emergence, how family champions operate as catalysts for change, and governance of both family and enterprise. The family champion is a visionary catalyst who brings new energy into the family system to support and develop the family-ownership advantage. This research makes a contribution to our understanding of the vital role of leadership within family-enterprises, and has significance for individual leaders, families who own a business, and professionals who work with these systems.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jaffe, Dennis T.
Commitee: Metcalf, Gary, Piazza, Charles
School: Saybrook University
Department: Organizational Systems
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, Organization Theory, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Family business, Family enterprise, Leadership, Ownership group, Qualitative
Publication Number: 3712740
ISBN: 978-1-321-89758-6
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