IFERA 2014 Pre-Conference Event

IFERA Professional Development Workshop (PDW)

Qualitative Research in Family Business

24th June 2014


TOPICAL FOCUS            PDW FORMAT             FACILITATORS              PROGRAM                    Registration



Family business research can immensely benefit from a growing and expanding use of qualitative research.  High ranking journals already encourage academics to submit high quality papers using qualitative methods.

The Inaugural IFERA Professional Development Workshop (PDW) will expose attendees to some aspects of qualitative methods and techniques that can be applied to current research in family business.The goal is to assist researchers in challenging and reconsidering their methods by expanding their knowledge of qualitative measures.

This Inaugural PDW is focused on a few of the commonly used techniques and methods in qualitative research with specific emphasis on their applicability to the family business field. PDW facilitators have been encouraged to design interactive sessions for hands-on learning and skill development in use of specific methods and techniques. The current PDWs aspires to encourage development of fresh insights in enhancing our understanding of the appropriateness and effectiveness of qualitative research in addressing research questions in the family business field. 

 PDW Format 

The PDW includes six sessions/workshops on various qualitative research topics conducted by Donella Casperz (University of Western Australia), Alfredo De Massis (Lancaster University Management School), Jenny Helin (Uppsala University) and Mike Pratt (Boston College) who will present different techniques and methods of qualitative research, with some insights into how to apply qualitative research to family businesses research.




PDW Facilitators

Donella Casperz, University of Western Australia


Donella's research is in the area of family business governance, employment relations related to temporary labour migration,service-learning and teamwork. Donella has an extensive range of publications and regularly attends IFERA and ISA (International Sociological Association), as well as Australian/New Zealand-based management and employment relations academic conferences. Donella's strength is qualitative research methodology that draws on content analytical tools; however, Donella also utilises a mixed methods approach in most research projects.  Donella's research focus is multidisciplinary both theoretically and conceptually and is informed by key perspectives found in the sociology of management. 


Alfredo De Massis, Lancaster University


Alfredo De Massis is Director of the Centre for Family Business at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) at Lancaster University Management School (UK) and Professor in the area of Family Business at the University of Bergamo (Italy).  His research interests include family-centered goal setting processes, intra-family succession, innovation and behavioral issues in family firms and enterprising families. On these topics, he has published some books and several papers in leading academic and professional journals, including papers in leading journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Small Business Management, and Family Business Review


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Jenny Helin, Uppsala University


Jenny Helin has a post doc at the Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research interests lie at the intersection of process philosophy and dialogue where she primarily inquire into living conversations and generative meeting practices in organizational contexts. She also explores how collaborative research practices and process orientations can influence how people make connections and relate to each other in organizational settings.Jenny is particularly interested in family owned businesses and has extensive experience working with family businesses.Based on her strong commitment to process philosophy in organization studies, Jenny is one of the organizers of the standing working group on process philosophy at European Group of Organization Studies (EGOS). She is also one of the editors of the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook of Process Philosophy and Organization Studies.

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Michael Pratt, Boston College


Michael's research is problem-centered and process-oriented, and consequently he tends to engage in cross-level research. His interests include how individuals connect with the work that they do, as well as to the organizations, professions, occupations, and other collectives in which they find themselves. Theoretically, his research draws heavily from theories of identity and identification, meaning, emotion, intuition, and culture (e.g., artifacts). Methodologically, while he has published work that utilizes lab research and surveys, much of his work is ethnographic or otherwise qualitative in nature. Questions posed by his current research include the following: “When group conflicts about interests (what groups want) change to conflicts about identity (who we are), how are such seemingly intractable conflicts resolved?” “How do organizations, that are beholden multiple stakeholders, not only create multiple identities in service of these stakeholders, but also integrate these identities into a dynamic whole?” “How can individuals and groups who experience ambivalence, transform that ambivalence into commitment, trust, creativity and wisdom?” And “how do individuals approach their work, and what difference does this make in terms of how they perform their jobs?”





Registration fee for PDW is 150Euros. When you register for the conference you will be able to add on PDW. Please email your intent to register for the PDW to Julia-Carolin Schmid ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

PDW Program Manager


Julia-Carolin Schmid, University of Witten/Herdecke

Julia-Carolin Schmid currently works for the shareholder office of Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH. In 2013 she began her Ph.D. at University of Witten/Herdecke (Germany) focusing on large family shareholder groups in terms of family strategy, governance and cohesion as well as leadership styles and shareholder commitment.



Local Arrangements Coordinator


Lea Lonka, Lappeenranta University of Technology

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