Professors Ethel Brundin (CeFEO Researcher) and Peter Rosa (University of Edinburgh) convened a four-hour workshop about family businesses at the first Academy of Management Africa. The conference took place in Johannesburg at GIBS – Gordon Institute of Business Science between January 7-10, 2013 and attracted researchers, educators, lobbyists, and business executives from all continents of the world  

The conference was guided by four themes and attracted scholars from all over the world and from all continents. The four themes were:

1. Navigating Institutions: Business. Government and Civil Society

2. The Base of the Pyramid: Emerging Market Consumers, Workers, and Managers

3. Emerging Market Firm and MNCs: Characteristics and Global Aspirations

4. Cultural Diversity and Transformational Societies

In addition to the themes, all conference delegates were scheduled to take part in experiential academic learning journeys.  For theme four the scheduled learning journey was entitled: A Country that No Longer Exists: Leading Institutions through the Wounds of History, facilitated by a professional historian tour guide and representataives from GIBS Centre for Leadership and Dialgoue. It drew on some of the fractured historic and freedom in struggles for South Africa and through the broad non-racial anti-apartheid movement. The purpose was to open the layers of South Africa’s diverse history.

Professors Brundin and Rosa led the workshop within the fourth theme together with Brenda Watuli (Research Fellow) from Makerere Univeristy Business School, Uganda (representing the MUBS family business team).

The workshop was entitled Cultural Diversity and the African Family Business. During the workshop, the global STEP project was presented, and from there followed introductory presentations about business research in Uganda, South Africa and Egypt.  These built the basis for a discussion about confronting preconceptions of family businesses in Africa, such as the traditional and modern Africa family system, national regulations and institutions, and the concept of family business . The audience then formed groups in order to discuss their take-aways within the three headings Head (cognitive take-aways), Heart (emotional take-aways), and Hands (what actions come from here).  The workshop ended with possible directions of a future research agenda of family firms in Africa.

Unfortunatley enough, all the co-organizers had to cancel due to illness and other unforeseen reasons. Non-present co-organizers for this workshop were:

  • Professor Kobus Visser (University of the Western Cape, South Africa), leader of South African STEP team).
  • Assoc. Prof. Shaida Cassim, (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa), researcher in the South African STEP team
  • Dr. Omaima Hatem (University of Edinburgh Business School, researching fast growth internationalisation amongst Egyptian family firms
  • Dr Patricia Joubert  (Dean, Faculty of Commerce, University of Swaziland). Expertise: Gender legislation and its impact on Swaziland SMEs

Professor Brundin also finalized her project within STEP together with Professor Visser. Among others, interviews were made with coloreds who have started family firms within the wine industry and three cases for STEP were finalized.