Family businesses constitute some of the most unique, complex, and dynamic systems in modern society. The blending of the performance-based world of business and the emotion-based domain of the family creates a system potentially fraught with confusion and conflict. The significant rise in immigrant family businesses adds a further level of complexity to this mix. Research into immigrant family businesses has been based on traditional, limited views of entrepreneurship largely ignoring the ethnic and family contexts that create the culture from which entrepreneurship emerges, making it impossible to understand the complex and interdependent relationships between an owning family, its firm, its governance and the community context in which the firm operates. These firms possess features that make their governance a challenging task. They depict a complex stakeholder structure, whereby the ownership stakes are passed from one generation to the next. The owning family's members usually play multiple roles, thereby blurring governance relationships. Governance in Immigrant Family Businesses explores the relationship between ethnic cultural influence in family businesses and its impact on corporate governance, addressing the intertwined influences of contractual, relational and cultural governance mechanisms and sets out a comprehensive theoretical model which clarifies the complexities involved in business planning, family harmony, and ethnic cultural variables. The authors specifically identify the implications for research, education, and practice. Application of their model will be of value to policy makers, consultants, business researchers and educators.
Dr Daphne Halkias is a Research Affiliate on the Migration Project at The Institute for Social Sciences at Cornell University; a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Young and Family Enterprise at the University of Bergamo; a Research Associate at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego and CEO of Executive Coaching Consultants, an international firm specializing in cross-cultural business, academic and research projects. Dr Chris Adendorff is an entrepreneur who since 1985 has built up a substantial family business. He has a passion for the management of family owned businesses and in particular their planning, governance and turnaround strategies. He lectures on Entrepreneurship, Small Business Management, and Research Methodology at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School in Port Elizabeth. To date, Dr Adendorff has written a book on Governance for Immigrant Entrepreneurs and published various articles in national and international journals.