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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVV4023U  Family Entrepreneurial Firms Challenges

English Title
Family Entrepreneurial Firms Challenges

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Asma Fattoum - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics (INO)
Administration: Mie Maahr Hegelund - mmh.ino@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
Last updated on 18-02-2014
Learning objectives
  • Define family entrepreneurial firms and explain how these firms differ from other business structures.
  • Assess the attractiveness of different financing options available for family entrepreneurial firms.
  • Identify different defensive mechanisms that allow family members to keep control over the firm.
  • Understand the different emotional and cognitive biases (e.g. attachment, identification, psychological ownership, risk aversion) of family management.
  • Understand how family control impacts strategic management decisions
  • Identify agency costs specific to family entrepreneurial firms
  • Understand important challenges related to intergenerational wealth transfer
  • Identify when, how and why family entrepreneurial firm outperform/underperform other business structures
Course prerequisites
The Course requires the concepts and skills developed in strategic management, Financial management and organizational behavior courses.
Family Entrepreneurial Firms Challenges:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Written sit-in exam
Individual or group exam Individual
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Limited aids, see the list below and the exam plan/guidelines for further information:
  • Aids to be decided
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Course content and structure
Course Content

This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to introduce students to challenges of growing, financing and managing family entrepreneurial firms. Family entrepreneurial firms represent at least 80 percent of companies around the world. Their unique ownership, control and management structures create specific challenges over the different stages of firms’ life cycle. This course examines these challenges by addressing the following questions:

• How do family entrepreneurial firms differ from other business structures (i.e., ownership, corporate governance, leadership, investment and profit horizons)?
• How to finance family entrepreneurial firm’s growth without loosing control over the firm (i.e., anti-takeover provisions, use of defensive mechanisms such dual class shares, pyramid structures, voting pacts)?
• What are the effects of family emotional and cognitive biases on strategic management decisions (i.e., diversification, internationalization, mergers and acquisitions, dividend policy)?
• How to deal with misalignment of interests between family and non-family shareholders?
• How to prepare and execute successions in family entrepreneurial firms?
• Under what conditions do family entrepreneurial firms outperform other business structures?

This course aims to make students aware about above-mentioned issues. In addition, it provides students with tools for developing alternatives to address these issues and to anticipate short-term and long-term consequences of the different ways to deal with them.
Teaching methods
The course is organized as interactive two-way communicative sessions. The teaching method consists of a mixture of lectures, class discussion, case studies, videos and guest speakers.
Expected literature
Selected Indicative Literature
  • Poza, E. J., & Daugherty, M.S. (2013). Family Business. Cincinnati: South Western Educational Publishing, 4th edition.



  • Bennedsen, M., & Nielsen, K. M. (2010). Incentive and entrenchment effects in European ownership. Journal of Banking & Finance, 34(9), 2212–2229.
  • Chua, J. H., Chrisman, J. J., & Sharma, P. (1999). Defining the family business by behavior. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 23(4), 19–39.
  • Gomez-Mejia, L. R., Makri, M., & Kintana, M. L. (2010). Diversification decisions in family-controlled firms. Journal of Management Studies, 47(2), 223.
  • La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F., & Shleifer, A. (1999). Corporate ownership around the world. Journal of Finance, 54(2), 471–517.
  • Miller, D., Steier, L., & Le Breton-Miller, I. (2003). Lost in time: Intergenerational succession, change, and failure in family business. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(4), 513–531.
  • Sharma, P., Chrisman, J. J., & Chua, J. H. (2003). Predictors of satisfaction with the succession process in family firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 667–687.
  • Villalonga, B., & Amit, R. (2006). How do family ownership, control and management affect firm value? Journal of Financial Economics, 80(2), 385–417.
  • Villalonga, B., & Amit, R. (2010). Family control of firms and industries. Financial Management, 39(3), 863–904.
Last updated on 18-02-2014