Family Business / Family Business Review / Finance / Governance / Research in the Field / Trends in Family Enterprise

How Does Knowledge Sharing among Advisors from Different Disciplines Affect the Quality of the Services Provided to the Family Business Client?

Practitioner-banner11-2012The Practitioner

In this week’s issue of The Practitioner, FBR assistant editor Karen Vinton provides highlights in an article by Emma Su, Asian Family Enterprise Forum, British Columbia and Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China and Junsheng Dou, Zhejian University, Hangzhou, China in which they probe “How Does Knowledge Sharing among Advisors from Different Disciplines Affect the Quality of the Services Provided to the Family Business Client?”

This is the fourth in a series of articles from the September 2013 Special Issue of FBR on family enterprise advising.

How Does Knowledge Sharing among Advisors from Different Disciplines Affect the Quality of the Services Provided to the Family Business Client? An Investigation from the Family Business Advisor’s Perspective

Emma Su, Asian Family Enterprise Forum, British Columbia and Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, Junsheng Dou, Zhejian University, Hangzhou, China

Today we have new twist on an old topic — multidisciplinary advising! For more than 25 years the Practitioner has lobbied for this approach. Many family enterprises globally have agreed. In today’s article, however, the fourth in our series from the upcoming FBR Special Issue on advising, we have a new and researched vantage point, i.e., what do advisors themselves think of this approach?

According to researchers Emma Su, Asian Family Enterprise Forum, British Columbia and Zhejiang University, and Junsheng Dou, Zhejiang University, advisors believe knowledge sharing among external, multidisciplinary advisors improves the services provided to the family business client in four ways:

  • It improves the accuracy of issue identification
  • It achieves a systemic analysis of the issue
  • It arrives at an integrated total solution
  • It increases the credibility of the provided solution

This study attempts to answer the following question:

From the family business advisor’s perspective, how does knowledge sharing among advisors affect the quality of services provided to the family business client? 

The authors interviewed twenty family firm advisors who had experience in working with clients as part of a knowledge sharing team that included advisors from other disciplines.  An analysis of the data found that family business advisors could influence the quality of services they provide to their clients through the four mechanisms listed above.

Table 1 in the paper provides a description of each mechanism along with quotes from the interviews to highlight each mechanism.  Figure 1 in the paper provides a visual model which shows how knowledge sharing among advisors from different disciplines, as well as the use of the four mechanisms, impacts the quality of services provided to the client.

Not only does knowledge sharing help improve the quality of the services provided to the clients, but it can also help advisors cultivate two important characteristics associated with being an effective advisor:

  • developing systems thinking;
  • gaining the client’s trust in the solutions advisors provide

The authors recognize that this is a preliminary study, but it is an important first step in demonstrating the importance and power of multidisciplinary advising and how it can positively affect the quality of advising services.

There is still much that needs to be researched, but if you have had any doubts about the value of knowledge sharing through a multidisciplinary approach — or even if you have believed in it, participated in it and advocated it for years, but lacked the research data to back it up — Read the article here.

To read the first in this series, go here; the second go here; and the third, go here.


About the Contributor
Karen Vinton 2012Karen 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 also 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.

Add your voice to the discussion by using the comment space, share with others via our social sharing buttons, subscribe to the blog, or become a guest blogger or contributor.

Yours in Practice,

The Practitioner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s