Family Business Management (MNG156)


What does the Italian mob organization called “Mafia” have in common with reputable businesses such as IKEA, BMW or Samsung?

Well, in this course we will discover some of the underlying dynamics rooted in the familial structures, just as you might have seen them in the famous movie “The Godfather” ™.

Recognizing and understanding such dynamics is important as family-owned and -run organizations dominate the world’s economies. According to latest figures, worldwide family-influenced businesses account for around 70 to 90 percent of all businesses. In the US, family businesses constitute 85 percent of private sector employment and one-third of the S&P 500. The probability is high that many ISM students will pursuit careers in or with businesses that are controlled by a family. Jobs in investment banking, wealth management, consulting, and management all relate to some extent to family businesses.

However, few understand this special type of business as family-influenced organizations (both private and publicly-traded) face unique challenges in their desire to preserve its influence and control from generation to generation. *Goal of the course is therefore to familiarize students with the notion of familial influence on business and its challenges, as well as to provide more specific exposure to such firms in Europe and worldwide.

Learning outcomes

  • Learn and raise awareness why a family firm is a distinctive form of organization.
  • Increase students’ understanding of family firms and their role in the economy.
  • Understand the major issues and problems of family businesses as well as basic ideas how these challenges can be solved to improve family business performance.
  • Improve students’ team building and business case solving skills.
  • Develop skills related to data gathering on family businesses, as well as critical and analytical thinking.
  • Actively seek for and present solutions to common family business challenges (competencies related to consulting family businesses).
  • Enhance students’ future entrepreneurial and managerial capabilities in a family business context.