Family firms represent a significant share of the economic power of the German speaking and international economy. Since its foundation in spring 2016, the Family Business Center undertakes applied research projects in close collaboration with family businesses to help family owners to sustainably maintain and further increase their economic strength.
Family firm succession is a highly critical period for family businesses, since it not only concerns fundamental questions of the business, but also of the continued existence of the family. Studies reveal that out of the total of 85% of all family businesses, only 67% successfully hand over to the second, 32% to the third and 16% to the fourth generation.
The goal of this competence cluster thus is to study succession in family firms by analyzing underlying challenges and problems and by developing hands-on solutions for family-run businesses on the basis of study results.
Family firms are confronted with a conflict field between tradition and innovation. On the one hand, family firms stand for continuity, which derives from the family, the name of the family and its tradition; on the other hand, family businesses are subject to change processes, which become necessary due to ownership succession or market adaptation.
The question is which measures family businesses might take to retain entrepreneurial innovation and enable a structured governance of innovation activities. This entails also topics such as the use and implementation of digital and social media in family firms.
Due to their size, many family firms do not dispose of a full-time or part-time specialist in the field of human resources marketing, development and change management. Furthermore, they often do not have staff positions to deliver information search and processing in a systematic way.
Thus, the goal of this competence cluster is to study the central fields of action in human resource management and to develop recommendations for a continued professionalization of strategic HR management.