Narratives in family business

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Strategic Use of Historical Narratives in Family Business

I’m sharing a link to a fascinating new paper on how family firms use historical narratives strategically. The paper is doubly interesting to me as it intersects with my own research interests and is consistent with my observations about how the entrepreneurs in my extended family have used historical narratives in their ventures. Congratulations to Rania Labaki Ludovic Cailluet and Fabian Bernhard on this paper.

Labaki R., Bernhard F., Cailluet L. (2019) The Strategic Use of Historical Narratives in the Family Business. In: Memili E., Dibrell C. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Heterogeneity among Family Firms. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

CfP: Family firms in the long run

Call for Papers – EDHEC Family Business Conference

Family firms in the long run: The interplay between emotions and history

Lille, France May 11-12, 2017

Family businesses play a central role in the world economy and have intrigued historians and management scholars alike. What makes them a fascinating subject of study is the interconnectedness of the family and the business in the long-run. As such, they offer a fertile ground for exploring the history of the family, viewed as an emotional multigenerational system, in addition to the history of the business. Up to date however, scarce studies exist on the topic of emotions and their historical importance in family businesses. The main reason may lie in the complexity of analyzing two systems and choosing appropriate research methodologies.

In response to these gaps and subsequent calls for more cooperation, this conference stands as a meeting point between business historians, family business scholars and managers to inform the family business field. 

Call for Papers – 2017 EDHEC Family Business Conference on Family Firms in the long run: The interplay between emotions and history. Lille, France May 11-12 2017

The 2017 EDHEC Family Business Conference intends to stimulate and strengthen the historians’ analytical efforts by integrating theories and insights from family business management studies. By building on historians’ knowledge and perspectives, it also aims at helping family business scholars gain a deeper understanding of the emotional dynamics and processes as they perpetuate over time.

Among relevant issues at the intersection of emotions and history, the conference invites submissions exploring:

  • The process of historical narratives and related emotions
  • The strategic use of family business history
  • The family business emotions through history

Selected papers from the conference will be invited for submission to a Special Issue by the leading French business history journal, “Entreprises et Histoire”.

Proposals are expected to be written in English, with a 3-page limit, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, including the following sections:

  • A 250-word abstract;
  • The justification or need for the study;
  • The research objectives;
  • A brief literature review;
  • The methodology (if applicable);
  • Findings and discussion, future research directions.


  • Submission of proposals: December 16, 2016
  • Notification of acceptance: January 16, 2017
  • Full paper (for inclusion in the special issue): April 7, 2017
  • Conference will be held on May 11-12, 2017

Proposals should be submitted by email to:


  • Fabian BERNHARD, PhD, Associate Professor of Management and Family Business, EDHEC Business School
  • Ludovic CAILLUET, PhD, Professor of Strategic Management and Business History, EDHEC Business School
  • Rania LABAKI, PhD, Associate Professor of Finance and Family Business, EDHEC Business School
  • John Seaman, CEO of Saybrook Partners


Popp’s history of an entrepreneurial family

It is always great to see the work of colleague’s reviewed by scholars outside organizational history, and this one is a particularly charming and insightful discussion into how private history, organizational process and those of us who research those things can be closely intertwined:

Emotional Historians? A review of Andrew Popp’s Entrepreneurial Families

What happens when historians fall in love with their subjects? Love is supposed to make us blind, isn’t it? Does this mean we can’t write ‘objectively’ about the object of our fascination and affection? I am regularly besotted by some of the people I study, from the good (the adorable Northumbrian engraver, Thomas Bewick) to the bad (William Ettrick, the wife-beating justice of the peace), to the lovely (Mary Robinson, who seduced theatre audiences, princes, and her readers).


It is not just individuals. I fell for a whole family while researching my last book Parenting in England; the Shaws: John and Elizabeth who grew a family and a successful business in Staffordshire in the first half of the 19th century. Reading their correspondence through their courtship and marriage (1811-1839) created a powerful picture for me of the couple’s admirable characters, their loving relationship with each other and their children and parents, and – in fact – the appeal of the minutiae of their daily lives.

If you’d like to read the full review, click here.