Research in the Field / Trends in Family Enterprise

Listening to Learn

We hope that our ongoing interview series has been keeping you informed of the latest research, developments and thought leaders in the field. This week Karen Vinton, FBR assistant editor, continues our series with podcast interviews of two award-winning researchers, Cristina Bettinelli and Jörn Block. Listen to the podcast interviews and download the full articles below. Take it away Karen…

Interviews with FBR Award Winners 

The FBR Best Article for 2011 was written by Cristina Bettinelli of the University of Bergamo and is entitled “Boards of directors in family firms: An exploratory study of structure and group processes.” This research topic and Professor Bettinelli’s findings explore issues crucial to both family businesses and family business advisors. This article clearly demonstrates the important benefits that can be derived from having outside directors on a family business board, in particular the impact on board level processes that can enhance board effectiveness.

This article represents a fine-grained extension of prior research into the composition and functioning of family business boards of directors with a particular focus on outside directors and group process. It tests hypotheses relating to board composition, expectations of effort required for deliberations, and the use of knowledge and skills of board members. It uses a multi-theoretical approach to shed new light on how best to configure BODs given the types of group process that are unique to a family business setting.

Listen Online Here: Podcast Interview with Cristina Bettinelli

Download Article Here: “Boards of directors in family firms: An exploratory study of structure and group processes”


The 2011 FBR honorable mention award went to Jörn Block of the University of Trier and is entitled “How to pay non-family managers in large family firms: A principal-agent model.” This article also explores a topic that is crucial to both family businesses and family business advisors:developing effective pay packages for non-family executives. Because the goals of family and non-family managers can differ, it is important to design pay packages that take into account those differences.

The article draws on a well-rounded set of salient literature and is framed in terms of issues that are clearly relevant to the family business context. It represents a valuable extension of prior theorizing about agency and stewardship approaches to incentives, and short-term versus long-term decision criteria.

Listen Online Here: Podcast Interview with Jörn Block

Download Article Here: “How to pay non-family managers in large family firms: A principal-agent model”

The award winners will be recognized at the Gala Awards dinner on Friday, October 19th, 2012 at the FFI global conference in Brussels, Belgium. If you haven’t registered for the conference or the gala please visit the conference page here to register online. Hope to see you in Brussels!


About The Contributor

Karen L. Vinton Ph.D. is a 1999 Barbara Hollander Award winner and Professor Emeritus of Business at the College of Business at Montana State University, where she founded the University’s Family Business Program. An FFI Fellow, she has served on its Board of Directors and chaired the Body of Knowledge committee. From 1997 through 2011, Vinton served on the editorial board of Family Business Review, and is the current assistant editor. Before retiring, Vinton served as director for her own family’s business (negotiating its eventual sale) and had her own family business consulting practice, Vinton Consulting Services. Karen can be reached at klvinton700@gmail.com.


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Yours in Practice,

The Practitioner

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