Stockholm university
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Entrepreneurial Family Firms

This course introduces students to the widespread, but complex, phenomenon of entrepreneurial family firms. The course covers many themes relevant for starting a new business and/or for maintaining and growing the entrepreneurial capacity in established family firms.

Examples of themes included in the course are: the history and characteristics of entrepreneurial family firms across the globe, strategy, innovation, governance, leadership, succession, sustainability, finance, management control/accounting, transgenerational entrepreneurship, exit, conflicts and relationships and consulting to family firms.

The course is designed for students who are interested in working in family firms (e.g. as entrepreneurs, managers, owners) or with family firms (e.g. as advisors, consultants, board members, bankers) or who come from a family firm background (e.g. next generation family owners). Given that family firms represent the most common type of business organization in most industries and countries, it is very likely students with a business school degree will work in or with family firms at some point in their careers.

The course also includes many practical learning situations with real case studies, guest lectures and company visit that cover both new family-based innovative ventures and established, long-lived family firms that have maintained and developed their entrepreneurial spirit for centuries. The course blends examples and experiences from a Swedish setting with a strong international focus and outlook.

  • Course structure

    The course uses different learning and teaching formats with the purpose to blend theories, concepts and models based on leading research, with practice and experience through examples, cases and real-life challenges.

    Introductory lectures lay the theoretical, contextual and practical foundation for the course. Course seminars focus on live cases/guest lectures/company visits, written teaching cases, and articles, and one final seminar where participants present their live project report.

    The live project where student groups work throughout the course with real challenges in a family firm setting is a core component of the course format.

    All sessions (lectures, seminars, presentations) are interactive and based on active involvement of participants. The instructor's role is to support and facilitate students' learning and ability to develop skills useful for acting as leader in relation to family firms. Students are given assignments in preparation for each session, and should to be ready to present and discuss in class.

    Teaching format

    The course workload is 200 hours equivalent to 7,5 ECTS.
    The language of instruction is English.


    Assessment for the course will be continuous and is carried throughout the different course activities. Each assessment task is weighted in relation to its importance in the overall assessment of the course. The student’s results from the different assessment tasks are added up to a total course score that will then translate into the final grade for the course.

    Examination is both individual (60%) and group (40%). The individual examination consists of assignment linked to cases studies/guest  lectures/company visit and a final exam. The group examination is in the form of
    group presentations and a written live project where the student group works with a challenge in a real business setting. Attendance in some sessions is mandatory and in some voluntary.

    Students will have to pass all course assignments in order to receive a passing grade. A student's grade will depend on performance on both written (individual and group) assignment, oral presentations and level of activity in class sessions.

    Assessment tasks
    The course contains the following weighted assessment:
    1. Individual final examination: assesses intended learning outcomes 1-4; constitutes 60% of total course points.
    2.Group examination: assesses intended learning outcomes 1-4; constitutes
    40% of total course points.

    After completion of the course, students will receive grades on a scale related to the intended learning outcomes of the course. Passing grades are A, B, C, D and E. Failing grades are Fx and F. A grade Fx can be completed for a grade E.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    See reading list in the current syllabus.

  • Contact

    Course coordinator:

    Head of course: Jessica Lindberg