IFERA Professional Development Workshop (PDW)

June 30, 2015

Qualitative Research in Family Business 


Following the successful PDW on qualitative research methods last year, IFERA is pleased to host this year’s PDW to offer family business scholars the opportunity to once more engage with contemporary qualitative methodological approaches that can be applied to their research.

Denise Fletcher (University of Luxembourg) will review key questions that guide qualitative enquiry, particularly in the family business context, while Torsten Pieper (Kennesaw State University) , Co-editor in Chief of Journal of Family Business Strategy, will provide guidance on writing qualitative research for publication. These overview sessions will be followed by two ‘hands-on’ sessions, the first by Margrit Schreir (Jacobs University Bremen) on the use of content analysis in family business studies, followed by Rania Labaki (University of Bordeaux) who will discuss qualitative and quantitative approaches to researching the emerging field of emotions in family business studies.

Each presenter will provide pre-reading materials, and participants are requested to either bring some of their own data or have some of their own research in mind when attending the PDW, as the workshop structure will allow plenty of opportunity to discuss the relevance of method to research. As a follow up for participants, materials  (e.g. powerpoints) used in the sessions will be available following the session. 



Denise Fletcher, University of Luxembourg

Denise Fletcher is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at University of Luxembourg as well as a visiting professor at the Family Business Research Center at Jokoping Business School in Sweden. Prof. Fletcher's research utilizes theories from relational sociology to explain how time, context, action and interaction cohere in the production of entrepreneurial forms of work. Her work starts from the premise that entrepreneurial endeavours begin in relationship (whether withcolleagues, friends, spouses and family members, or with our culture, society, economy and the physical world we live in). This means seeing entrepreneurial forms of work as relational activities and drawing attention to the relatedness of individuals, identities, discourses, actions and contexts. More specifically, her interest is in how owner-managed, spousal, sibling, team-based or family enterprises make economic and social assessments about the ways in which their knowledge, skills, resources and productive capacities can be translated into commodities that have commercial or market value. Furthermore, I examine how relationships, boundaries, roles and resources are co-constructed within entrepreneurial work and how these are legitimized in the production of a new business entity.

Torsten Pieper, Kennesaw State University

Torsten Pieper is an Assistant Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship at the Coles College of Business and Academic Director of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia (USA).  His research in the areas of family business and strategic management has won international awards and has been published in a variety of leading academic journals.  Dr. Pieper is co-editor-in-chief of the Elsevier title Journal of Family Business Strategy and former board member of IFERA, The International Family Enterprise Research Academy.  Born in Germany, Torsten comes from a family business and was educated internationally.  He holds Master of Science degrees from The University of the Saarland (Germany) and EM LYON Business School (France), and a Ph.D. from European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel (Germany).




Margrit Schreier, Jacobs University Bremen

Margrit Schreier received her PhD in Psychology from Heidelberg University and completed her Habilitation (likewise in Psychology) at the University of Cologne. Since 2003 she has been Professor of Empirical Research Methods at Jacobs University Bremen. As a methodologist, the focus of her work has been on qualitative research methods, especially qualitative content analysis, case selection in qualitative research, and reconstructing subjective theories, as well as on mixed methods. Although she has not previously done research on family business, she has ample experience in working with students and participants from different disciplines both in her classes at Jacobs University and in numerous methods workshops (for example at GESIS and at the Berliner Methodentreffen). Her substantive areas of interest include media psychology, gender, and health-related issues, and she has co-chaired research projects and published in all these areas in addition to her publications in the area of methods and methodology.


Rania Labaki, University of Bordeaux


Associate Professor at the University of Bordeaux, Rania Labaki teaches and conducts research at the intersection of the fields of finance and family business. Her main interests revolve around the role of family business emotions in financial decision-making. Being ultimately passionate about family businesses, Rania developed a unique mix of academic and practical knowledge throughout extensive experience with leading international organizations specialized in family business education, networking, advising, and research. Rania served as Chair of the Annual IFERA Conference in 2012, as Guest Editor of the Entrepreneurship Research Journal’s Special Issue on the Emotional Dimension of Organizations in 2013, as Educator on analyzing family business cases for the Family Business Advising Certificate of FFI in 2013, and as Program Chair of the Family Business Network International - Next Generation events from 2010 to present. She is  also member of editorial and reviewing boards for several academic journals in management and family business. Rania currently serves as the academic director of the Family Business International Foundation and as director of the Master of Finance and Wealth Management at the University of Bordeaux. She is also recipient of several international awards in recognition of her contributions to the family business field.





Registration fee for PDW is 150Euros.

PDW may be cancelled if there are fewer than 15 registrations.

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 was born into a multi-family-business background in Germany. After she studied Corporate Management & Economics as well as Communication & Cultural Management at Zeppelin University (Germany) and University of Lugano (Switzerland), Julia-Carolin graduated with an M.Sc. from University of Witten/Herdecke (Germany) and an EMBA from Kennesaw State University (USA) in the family business field and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. During her studies Julia-Carolin worked in her family business, gained international experience in China and Canada at the Würth Group, and most recently works in 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.

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