Family Business Management

Since its foundation in 2016, the Family Business Center has carried out applied research projects in close collaboration with family businesses in order to help family owners maintain and further increase their economic strength in a sustainable manner.

 

Succession Management

Leadership succession represents the most crucial step in a family business. Thus, the goal of this competence cluster is to study succession in family-run businesses by analyzing underlying challenges and problems and by developing hands-on solutions for them.

Entrepreneurial Behavior

The focus is on the measures which can be taken to ensure entrepreneurial innovativeness and to enable a structured management of innovation activities. This includes topics such as risk management, and the use and application of digital and social media in family businesses.

Employer Branding

The employer brand is the unmistakable image of an employer in the minds of potential employees and thus increases the attractiveness of a company to potential employees, as a strong product brand would do for its customers. The aim is to examine the central fields of action in dealing with human resources and to develop recommendations for increasing professionalization in the direction of strategic human resources management.

Organization Development

This field researches questions of strategic, structural and cultural development in family businesses in change processes with the aim of developing targeted solutions that take into account organizational and group dynamics on the one hand, and integrate the human-psychological aspects on the other.

Business Families

The familiness factor describes all the characteristics that distinguish a family business from a non-family business and focuses on the pursuit of non-economic goals (socio-emotional wealth). This area examines this interplay and the associated regulatory structures (family governance).

Contact
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer | Head of Family Business Center Center for Family Enterprise
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer Head of Family Business Center +43 512 2070 - 7100

If you have any questions regarding this research area, please contact us
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Competence Center
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer | Head of Family Business Center Center for Family Enterprise
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer Head of Family Business Center +43 512 2070 - 7100
FH-Prof. Dr. Gabriela Leiß, MBA | Professor and Study Coordinator Human Resources, Organizational Development & Change Bachelor's program Business & Management
FH-Prof. Dr. Gabriela Leiß, MBA Professor and Study Coordinator Human Resources, Organizational Development & Change +43 512 2070 - 3136
Dr. Teresa Spieß | Lecturer Bachelor's program Management, Communication & IT
Dr. Teresa Spieß Lecturer +43 512 2070 - 3525
Dr. Birgit Bosio | Lecturer Master's Program Entrepreneurship & Tourism
Dr. Birgit Bosio Lecturer +43 512 2070 - 3327
FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. Barbara Lill-Rastern | Professor Bachelor's program Social Work
FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. Barbara Lill-Rastern Professor +43 512 2070 - 3436
Mag. Desiree Wieser | Teaching & Research Assistant R & D
Mag. Desiree Wieser Teaching & Research Assistant +43 512 2070 - 1824
Mag. Gundula Glowka | Doctoral student Center for Family Enterprise
Mag. Gundula Glowka Doctoral student +43 512 2070 - 7144
 Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc | Doctoral student Center for Family Enterprise
Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc Doctoral student +43 512 2070 - 7142
 Stefanie Haselwanter, BA, MA | Teaching & Research Assistant Bachelor's program Tourism Business Studies
Stefanie Haselwanter, BA, MA Teaching & Research Assistant +43 512 2070 - 3342
Dr. Leena Saurwein | Senior Lecturer<br />Assistant & Project Management International Relations
Dr. Leena Saurwein Senior Lecturer
Assistant & Project Management
+43 512 2070 - 1625

Strategic positioning: Analysis of strategic options for the support of the competitiveness of family businesses in tourism
Duration:
2016 - 2019

Project Lead:
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer

Team:
Ing. Mag. Martin Danler

Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc

Mag. Gundula Glowka

Ramona Pfeifer, BA MA

Description:
Aim of the project is to conduct a basic research study appraising the status quo of the strategic positioning of family businesses in tourism, the analysis of problems and the development of a portfolio with strategic options for the respective family businesses. Based on the relevant problems for Tyrolean family-operated businesses in the tourism sector, solution approaches are formulated and released as strategic recommendations. Thus, the guidelines reveal the necessity of strategic planning and hands-on implications give example for its implementation, so that the study contributes to the support of the Tyrolean businesses' competitiveness. The project addresses the research question: Which strategic options emerge for touristic family businesses with respect to their competitiveness.

Family Businesses and Personnel Strategies of the Future
Duration:
2019 - 2020

Project Lead:
Dr. Teresa Spieß

Team:
Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc

Description:
The aim of the project is to find out conditions under which the communication of family involvement can have a positive or negative impact on the perceived attractiveness of Tyrolean family businesses. In addition, the influence of the potential applicants' individual differences in this regard will be examined. A special focus is set on the so-called generations Y and Z (born from 1980). In addition to a structured literature analysis, within the project qualitative and quantitative data will be collected, evaluated and interpreted in order to answer the central questions. Finally, recommendations for practice will be derived and made available. In particular, small and medium-sized Tyrolean family businesses will gain valuable information for their future personnel strategies, especially with regard to communicating family influence in employer branding processes. This information can help Tyrolean family businesses to recruit talented and well-educated employees of generations Y and Z on the labor market of the future and thus be prepared for the increasing digitization.

Requirements for the risk management in small and medium sized family businesses in Tyrol
Duration:
2019 - 2020

Project Lead:
Mag. Gundula Glowka

Team:
Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc

Description:
The TWF project analyses risk situation and awareness of family businesses in Tyrol. A lack of risk awareness is able to lead to negligence of a firm's risk management damaging the business performance in the medium run. The mixed method design gathers requirements for risk management of small and medium sized family businesses in Tyrol in order to detect possible negative consequences and to develop prevention strategies.

Succession planning in small family businesses
Duration:
2019

Project Lead:
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer

Team:
Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc

Description:
This research project aims at analyzing strategic succession planning as well as success factors and barriers of succession processes in small family firms in Austria and Hong Kong by means of a qualitative research design. The elaboration of idealistic succession solutions shall raise the awareness of family firms and policy implications for subsidies and funds shall actively support the initializing of succession processes in small family-run businesses.

The factor employees in touristic family businesses - a Status Quo analysis of the employee-image using the example of hotel businesses and gastronomy in Tyrol
Duration:
2018 - 2019

Project Lead:
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer

Team:
Katrin Schwaiger, MA

Mag. Gundula Glowka

FH-Prof. Dr. Christoph Engl

FH-Prof. Mag. Hubert J. Siller

Description:
This project aims at determining the sectoral identity of entrepreneurs and employees working in the hotel business and gastronomy in tourism. In addition, employee-satisfaction and improvement activities are examined. Main question addressed is how stakeholder perceive the image of their sector. Therefore, the sector's strengths and weaknesses are analysed from the viewpoint of entrepreneurs and employees as well as the leadership principles and satisfaction of the employees in terms of management, payment etc. Thus, the analysis clarifies how stakeholder perceive the sector and identifies the aspects needing actions. In connection with the results, practical implications for family businesses in tourism are proposed.

PIETE - Partnership for Initial Entrepreneurship Teacher Education
Duration:
2018 - 2021

Project Lead:
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer

Team:
Mag. Christine Pirhofer

Mag. Desiree Wieser

Description:
In order to promote entrepreneurial skills, which the European Union sees as key competences for lifelong learning, the Erasmus + project PIETE - "Partnership for Initial Entrepreneurship Teacher Education" was started in autumn 2018. The Erasmus + project PIETE is a strategic partnership that aims to anchor entrepreneurial skills in initial teacher education and to promote the establishment of a new generation of entrepreneurial teachers. The project builds on so-called tandem constellations, in which experts from the field of initial teacher education work together with experts from the field of entrepreneurial education. The project is managed by a strategic partnership between Univations - Institute for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (project management), the Technical and Humanistic Academy in Bielsko-Biała, the Katowice University of Economics, the University of Szeged, MCI The Entrepreneurial School ®, the University of Teacher Education Tyrol and the renowned University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN). The planned initiatives of the strategic partnership include the implementation of workshops with the aim of establishing a mutual understanding of the need for entrepreneurial education in initial teacher education, as well as the development of a modular teaching compendium that should enable partner institutions to integrate entrepreneurship education into their initial teacher education programs. Before doing so, the project team will conduct a study on the understanding of entrepreneurship education in initial teacher education throughout Europe. This study is supplemented by a best-practice collection, in which best-practice European initiatives for imparting entrepreneurial skills in higher education are illustrated.


Digitalization, Social Media and the Family Business | Follow-up project
Duration:
2017 - 2018

Project Lead:
FH-Prof. PD MMag. Dr. habil. Anita Zehrer

Team:
Valerie Nickel, BSc, BSc, MSc

Description:
Based on our findings in the preceding project (EPU 45/2016), the prolongation of the project will allow gathering more relevant data from family businesses in Austria and Asia, which benefits generalizability of our results to a population at large. Due to the family system and the business system in a family-run firm, it is difficult to find family businesses which are open to talk about strategic issues of their firm, such as digitalization, since both systems are interrelated and the family factor ‘familiness' is omnipresent (Sharma et al. 1997; Chrisman et al., 2007; Frank et al. 2010). This strong interference between family and business exerts influence on the business processes (Chrisman et al., 2008; Sharma et al., 1996).


  • Glowka, G., Zehrer, A. (2019).Tourism Family-Business Owners’ Risk Perception: Its Impact on Destination Development. Sustainability, 11(24), 6992. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246992
  • Spieß, T. & Zehrer, A. (2020). Employees’ change-oriented and proactive behaviors in small and medium-sized family businesses. In: Saiz-Àlvarez, J.M., Leitao, J., & Palma-Ruiz, J.M. (eds). Entrepreneurship and Family Business Vitality - Surviving and Flourishing in the Long Term. Wiesbaden. Springer, pp. 49-64.
  • Glowka, G., Zehrer, A. Leifeld, L. (2020). Werte in Familienunternehmen. 10. Konferenz der deutschsprachigen Forschungszentren und Institute für Familienunternehmen (FIFU Dachli), 2.-3. März 2020. Witten-Herdecke, Deutschland.
  • Eller, R., Glowka, G., Zehrer, A., & Peters, M. (2020). Sustainability Attitudes of Tourism Family Firms in Alpine Tourism Regions. In J. Palma-Ruiz, I. Barros-Contreras, & L. Gnan (Eds.), Handbook of Research on the Strategic Management of Family Businesses (pp. 280-303). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  • Nickel, V., & Zehrer, A. (2020). Weibliche Führung im Tourismus – Eine Analyse der Rollen von im Tourismus arbeitenden Frauen. TourismusWissenQuarterly, 20, 104-106.
  • Zehrer, A., & Leiß, G. (2020). Intergenerational communication barriers and pitfalls of business families in transition – a qualitative action research approach. Corporate Communications: An international Journal, 25(3), 515-532.

  • Leiß, G., Zehrer, A., & Bierwisch, A. (2019). Innovativität kleiner und mittelständischer Familienunternehmen im Kontext des Generationenwechsels unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Tischlereibetrieben. G-Forum „Die Chancen von KMU in einer globalisierten Welt”, September 25-27, 2019, Wien, Österreich.
  • Glowka, G., & Zehrer, A. (2019). Identifizierung von Risiken und Chancen in klein-und mittel-ständisch strukturierten Familienunternehmen. G-Forum „Die Chancen von KMU in einer globalisierten Welt”, September 25-27, 2019, Wien, Österreich.
  • Schwaiger, K., Zehrer, A., & Spieß, T. (2019). The impact of employer image on perceived industry attractiveness in hospitality family firms - differences among owners and employees. 7th International Conference on Tourism: “Contemporary Approaches and Challenges of Tourism Sustainability” (CACTUS 2019), October 3-6 2019, Transylvania.
  • Zehrer, A., Leiß, G., & Leifeld, L. (2020). Skandale in deutschsprachigen Familienunternehmen. 10. Konferenz der deutschsprachigen Forschungszentren und Institute für Familienunternehmen (FIFU Dachli), 2.-3. März 2020. Witten-Herdecke, Deutschland.