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Family Business Management

Spring 2014 MBA Course

B8529-001: Family Business Management

R - Full Term, 09:00AM to 12:15PM
Location: URI 330

Instructor: Michael Preston

Managing any business can be challenging these days particularly with the increasing impact of technology and globalization. Managing a family business can be additionally challenging as working with family members adds a further complication to the tasks of management and can make managing in some cases more difficult, in some easier or both.


Family business is an important topic as it constitutes a significant segment of the economy in the US and an even larger proportion of the global economy. Worldwide 80% of businesses are classified as "family businesses." Although family squabbles often receive headlines from the business press, recent studies have shown that family businesses on average are more profitable and last longer than non family businesses. This course, Family Business Management, focuses on this vital and interesting sector.


The emphasis is on small and mid-size firms with annual revenue of $10-$500 million. We will explore the business, personal and family issues found in family owned and managed companies. The managerial, strategic, and behavioral complexities in these firms are also analyzed. Through case studies and guest speakers, we consider questions of ownership, succession, sibling rivalry, attracting and retaining non-family talent, estate planning, and financing the family owned enterprise.


The course is directed towards students who will enter into the management of family businesses, either their own family's or someone else's, and students who will do business with family firms, consult to them, work with them in private wealth management, mergers and acquisitions, banking, consulting, outsourcing, etc.


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