Young JU researcher awarded for outstanding research on Entrepreneurship and Family Ownership

Johan Karlsson, Ph.D. and affiliated researcher at Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) at Jönköping University (JU), has been awarded “Ung forskarpriset” for 2023. He is recognized for his outstanding research in the fields of entrepreneurship and family ownership.

Johan Karlsson is awarded the Entrepreneurship forum's "Unga forskarpriset" 2023. Photo: Maja Brand

The award is presented annually by the Entrepreneurship Forum and is given to a researcher under the age of 35 who has made significant contributions to research in the areas of entrepreneurship and small businesses. Johan Karlsson receives this accolade for his dissertation, which features a comprehensive database of family-owned businesses that is unique in the world. This database enables extensive analyses of the ownership structure within these businesses and sheds new light on how companies operate and how ownership-related issues impact the economy.

“I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled by the news. There are many talented young researchers in Sweden, and it is, of course a great honor that my and my co-authors research, is being recognized in this way. I also see this as a clear indication of the growing interest in ownership-related issues and their role in entrepreneurship,” says Johan Karlsson.

Johan Karlsson earned his Ph. D in Economics at Örebro University in 2020, with his dissertation titled “Essays on Family Firms and Firm Growth Barriers.” Following his doctoral studies, he was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Family Entrepreneurship and Ownership (CeFEO) at JIBS. Alongside his current role as an analyst at Svenskt Näringsliv, he is still actively engaged in several research projects within this field.

Family-owned business have other goals

Traditionally, economic research has focused on profit maximization without delving into ownership issues. However, research on family ownership in businesses, where a family controls the majority of a company, reveals that such firms often prioritize non-financial goals, such as independence, control, and long-term survival across generations. Earlier research struggled to identify family ownership on a large scale due to the need for detailed information about individual persons, their ownership, and family relationships. This limitation resulted in studies on family ownership in businesses being confined to specific areas of the economy.

“This is where my research comes into play. Thanks to the comprehensive database of family ownership that my co-authors and I have developed, we can now study issues that were previously impossible to explore. Using this database, we can show how family businesses operate, what sets them apart from other companies, and how family ownership influences the economy as a whole. By incorporating ownership-related matters into economic research, we can better understand and harness Sweden’s growth potential,” Johan Karlsson concludes.

The prize will be awarded in Stockholm on 22 November.

Unga forskarpriset

To encourage young researchers in entrepreneurship, innovation, and small business development, Entreprenörskapsforum awards “Ung forkarpriset”. The prize has been awarded annually since 2003 and is given to a researcher who has distinguished themselves through their research in the field of entrepreneurship and small business. The prize is worth SEK 150,000, and it was founded by Entreprenörskapsforum with Triton Advisers (Sweden) AB as the donor.