German family firm conference in Siegen

March, 7-8 the German Family Firm Research Conference (“FIFU DACHLi”) took place in Siegen. More than 60 researchers and practitioners met in order to share new research ideas and to listen to interesting keynotes of Simon Parker and Karl Wennberg. The Family Firm team of WHU was present with 6 participants, taking active roles in the doctoral round tables and paper presentations.

The best paper award was given to my PhD student Alexandra Michel (University of St. Gallen) for her empirical work on advisor utilitization and family firm advising. Congratulations! Alexandra-best-paper

Carolyn Dexter Award 2015…

… for the storytelling paper by myself, Cinzia Dessi, Miriam Bird, and Michela Floris! We are very happy and proud to be the winner of this prestigious all-academy award for the best international paper. The award was handed over during the Carolyn Dexter Award Ceremony at the Annual Academy of Management Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on August 9.

Transeo Academic Award 2015

Our qualitative study on the trusted advisor’s role adjustment during the succession process and the advisor’s affect on his or her clients’ emotions has been voted as “best presented paper” at the Transeo General Assembly in Liège, Belgium.


Transeo award
Transeo award
Gala Dinner
Gala Dinner

The paper is part of Alexandra Michel’s PhD thesis. Based on interviews and archival material on 5 recent succession phases, we find that

  • The advisor changes his or her role during the succession process from that of a “psychologist” to a “project planner”, then a “doer”, and ultimately a “coach”.
  • Only when the advisor fully changes his or her role (and isn’t stuck, for instance, in the role of a “doer”), also incumbent and successor can adjust their own roles (something that, as Wendy Handler told us 21 years ago, is very important for the outcome of the succession process!). In other words, satisfaction of incumbent and successor is only high in the end, if role adjustment fully took place.
  • Negative emotions cannot and should not be fully avoided throughout the succession process. Indeed the advisor needs to trigger phases of negative emotions and dissatisfaction in order to advance the process. It is, however, also in the responsibility of the trusted advisor to help the clients overcome this negative emotions.

In case your interested in the presentation or the full paper, let me know via email [nadine.kammerlander AT] or via the contact formula.