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JFBM special issue - Taking A Hard Look At Soft Issues In The Family Business And Business Family

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Family Business Management

Guest Editors: Ethel Brundin, Jönköping International Business School, Sweden; Reg Litz, University of Manitoba, Canada; Arist von Schlippe, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany

Journal of Family Business Management (JFBM) is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue.

Family businesses and business families are extremely complex and often complicated phenomena. They are highly idiosyncratic and combine family and business capabilities and limitations in an almost infinite variety of ways. Besides that they are also home to equally complex and complicated social and psychological occurrences, which do not readily conform to, nor are easily studied by a ‘normal science’ paradigm. Accordingly, this issue is intended to provide a place to engage some of these less conventional, but arguably no less important, topics. In creating this forum our intention is to enrich current understandings concerning what can potentially happen, for better or worse, when family and business come together. While we welcome efforts to engage conventional theoretical perspectives (e.g. agency theory, resource-based-view etc.) we also would especially welcome novel, non-linear attempts to understand the family business and/or business family phenomena. Both theoretical papers and empirical approaches will be considered. Purely theoretical works are also welcome. In the general spirit of the special issue outline we invite imaginative explorations that take a ‘hard look’ at one or more ‘soft issues’ including, but not limited to, the following:


  • the role of emotions both generally or specifically (e.g. anxiety, joy, happiness, anger, envy)
  • family dynamics in relationship-, role- and/or power-conflicts (invisible) loyalties, betrayal, and reconciliation within and between generations
  • sub-tribal relations and their potential for enhancing complexity
  • the role of resilience in shaping how families respond to sudden (e.g. suicide) and gradual loss (e.g. cancer, Alzheimers, etc.)
  • next generation individuation (processes through which differentiated components become integrated into stable wholes) and de-individuation (e.g. learned helplessness)
  • the “dark side” of the family (secrets, concealment, corruption, fraud, blackmail, inherited ethical dilemmas, the family business as burden, etc.)
  • communication and miscommunication 
  • black sheep and scapegoating
  • the meaning of money in the family business-business family system
  • self-deception in interpreting family-related contributions to firm performance.

Submit a paper

Manuscripts should be submitted no later than 30 June 2012 via the journal’s online submission system: Submissions should comply with the JFBM editorial objectives and author guidelines, available to view at:

Please address any queries regarding the special issue to the Guest Editors:

Ethel Brundin: [email protected]
Reg Litz: [email protected]
Arist von Schlippe: [email protected]