Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve, Janette Wolff, Dr. Tobias Köllner
Research and teaching activities of the chair endowed by the Witten Institute for Family Business (WIFU) focus on social science issues, in particular on sociological, social psychological and social pedagogical issues in business families and their connection with economic sciences.
Expanding research and teaching on family businesses by considering the family side of family enterprises from the social science perspective is the hallmark of the chair. Business families are therefore our key interest of research, theory development and teaching. Sociological systems theory is the most suitable approach to placing emphasis on the challenges business families have to face. These challenges arise from the interrelation of three systems: the company system, the family system and the system of legal ownership of the company by the family members. We therefore pursue research activities being oriented towards systems theory and systemic constructivism and based on qualitative research methods.
The chair excels in its course contents, its focus on business families and its affiliation to the Witten Institute for Family Business.
The families, i.e. the family relations between company owners and between partners of family businesses, respectively, are decisive factors in such enterprises. These relations may strengthen the company on the one hand and seriously jeopardize it on the other, particularly in case of family conflicts. The chair’s research activities therefore focus on the internal dynamics of business families and their effects on the enterprise, as well as on the enterprise’s impact on the family. In addition, we deal with the specific social functions of business families. We discuss, for example, the hypothesis that family businesses pursue two strategies at the same time, in particular due to their family ownership, by combining economic innovation in the company with the owner family’s orientation towards intergenerational sustainability – a combination that is quite unusual for our economic system.
Our teaching focuses on the specific characteristics of business families from the social science perspective, in particular from sociological, social psychological and social pedagogical perspectives. Candidate topics of seminars and lectures are:
Current research topics:
For detailed information on research topics, projects and publications of the chair, please visit the WIFU-Homepage.
Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaft
WIFU-Stiftungslehrstuhl für Organisation und Entwicklung von Unternehmerfamilien