Centre for Family Enterprise and Ownership


Family enterprising is an old phenomenon. Most of the time, families did business together in order to create prosperity for themselves and their community.

For many years research into family firms was lagging behind as most attention was guided towards large publicly traded firms where the family ownership and management was supposed to not exist. Over the last 15 years research on family firms has grown rapidly and gained increased interest as a legitimate area of scholarly inquiry. Across the globe, research programs have been launched; family business chairs endowed, and family business Centres formed.

In 1994, Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) was established with the clear vision to become a leading business school in the areas of entrepreneurship, SME management and business renewal. From this overall profile of the new school, it was soon realized that a focus on family firms was both motivated and relevant.

Accordingly, JIBS became a pioneer in Scandinavia when it came to establishing a group devoted to the field of family business, both in terms of research and teaching. In 1996, Professor Leif Melin obtained the first research grant with the purpose to build a research program on “The Dynamics of Family Firms". Professor Melin hired a number of PhD candidates and senior researchers to the program. Already from the beginning the research was interdisciplinary, involving researchers from management, commercial law and accounting. The new research coincided with a strong increased interest in important family firm and ownership related issues both in Sweden and internationally. Additional research grants meant that more people could be employed to conduct research and teach about family enterprising and ownership In the late 1990s and early 2000s, both the number of PhD candidates and senior researchers grew.

In 2001, Per-Olof Bjuggren, Lars-Göran Sund, Annika Hall, Leif Melin and Mattias Nordqvist published the JIBS family business groups first two articles in the Family Business Review, Lars-Göran Sund published a comprehensive study on family business succession and the gift- and inheritance tax regime in Sweden and in the Spring of 2002 Emilia Florin Samuelsson defended the first doctoral dissertation on a family business topic at JIBS. Since then researchers from JIBS working at CeFEO have published numerous articles, books, dissertations and book chapters both nationally and internationally. Several awards and scholarships have been awarded to CeFEO researchers as a token of the quality of their research. For an overview, please visit publications.

CeFEO started in 2005 but several years before, the Carl-Olof and Jenz Hamrin's Foundation allocated funds to JIBS and to Professor Leif Melin in order to initiate the family business research. It was this first donation that made it possible to build up the critical mass that later would be the base for the foundation of CeFEO.

Over the years, the continuously growing research and teaching activities focusing on family business and ownership issues have become an integrated part of the internationally leading position that JIBS has obtained within the area of entrepreneurship and business renewal. JIBS is now internationally recognized as a strong research environment for family business scholarship and this area is one of the prioritized areas in JIBS´s strategy for future growth. Thanks to our accomplishments, CeFEO has a wide network of universities, business schools, individual scholars and educators around the world supporting our intention to stay on the frontier of family business research and education in the future.

Content updated 2019-08-20

Content updated 2019-05-07
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