Theories of Family Enterprise Conference

Theories of Family Enterprise Conference

17th Annual Theories of Family Enterprise Conference

Mississippi State University, the University of Memphis and the Rowan University School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship are excited to announce the 17th Annual Theories of Family Enterprise Conference scheduled March 30 - April 1, 2023 in partnership with the Journal of Small Business Management.

Sponsors listed for Family Enterprise Conference: Mississippi State University (presenting sponsor) University of Memphis (supporting sponsor) Rowan University (supporting sponsor)

Conference Committee

Call for Submissions

Family firms have traditionally received scant attention in the mainstream academic literature dominated by research dedicated to publicly traded firms. This neglect is unfortunate and puzzling for two reasons. First, in terms of numbers, family businesses represent a dominant form of economic organization throughout the world. Therefore, scholarship that neglects to consider the vast majority of business enterprises cannot hope to be generalizable to any but a small segment of the population of organizations. Second, the neglect is unnecessary because many of the theories that have been developed have applications to family firms. The failure of scholarship to recognize, embrace, and deliberately incorporate family businesses may lead to factors being missed that would make existing theories more robust and valuable to family and non-family firms alike. Fortunately, the situation is changing and family businesses are beginning to receive attention by scholars throughout the world.

The purpose of this limited-attendance conference, now being held for the 17th time, is to further improve our understanding of family firms by promoting development of theories and the accumulation of empirical evidence pertaining to that organizational form. The conference is intended to bring a small number of the leading scholars from mainstream disciplines such as strategic management, organization theory, organizational behavior, finance, economics, entrepreneurship, etc. together with a small number of the leading scholars in family business management in order to explore theories, research, and interdisciplinary perspectives on family businesses.

Leading scholars are invited to prepare 5-page abstracts on family business utilizing a variety of perspectives. For example, property rights theory, stewardship theory, stakeholder theory, agency theory, institutional theory, prospect theory, resource-based theory, transaction cost theory, justice theories, and network theory, all potentially inform our understanding of family enterprise. Likewise, family business as viewed from the conceptual lens of fields such as strategic management, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, economics, and sociology should further contribute to this goal. However, the final list of topics to be covered at the conference will be determined by the interests of the selected presenters. The submitted abstracts will be evaluated by the organizing team and select author(s) will be invited to submit full manuscripts based on their ideas to present at the in-person conference.

For each paper, a leading scholar from family business or a related discipline will be asked to prepare a set of written feedback in a friendly-review format to further illuminate and explore the contributions of these theoretical approaches to the study of family business. In all, the conference aims to consist of 10-12 full manuscripts. Therefore, the submission and review process will be highly competitive.

Up to two authors from each selected paper will receive complimentary lodging for the nights of March 30th and 31st at the conference hotel (see location details below). All attendees are responsible for their own travel to/from the conference venue. The conference's peer review process will constitute the first round of reviews for publication consideration in the Journal of Small Business Management (ABDC A, Impact Factor = 6.88), fast-tracking selected papers forward in the publication process. 

Best Conference Paper Awards

  • Daniel T. Holt Award for Excellence in Family Business Research
  • James C. Chrisman Award for Excellence in Family Business Theory


The conference is being hosted by the Rowan University School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Located in Glassboro, NJ, Rowan's main campus is an easy Uber/Lyft/taxi ride from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Accepted participants will be housed at the Courtyard Marriott Rowan University. Full details will be provided to accepted authors in January 2023. 

Tentative Schedule

Thursday, March 30

Friday, March 31

  • 8am-5pm: Academic Program / Paper Presentations 
  • 6pm-9pm: Dinner Excursion and Program Awards

Saturday, April 1

  • 9am-1pm: Academic Program / Paper Presentations 
  • 1:30-3:30: Optional family business site visit - Bonesaw Brewing Co. 

Submission Deadline

Five-page extended abstracts are due to James Vardaman ( by 11:59pm on November 20, 2022. Acceptance decisions will be sent to authors by December 15, 2022. Full papers will be due March 1, 2021.