The Network of Interdisciplinary Research in Family Firms (N.I.R.F.F.)

The study of family controlled businesses has become an increasingly globalized and interdisciplinary topic of research in the last century. Available estimations agree about their important contribution to wealth and employment in developed and emerging economies of the world. There is far less agreement in terms of definitions, typologies, and methodologies of study of these firms. As in the well-known metaphor of the elephant and the six blind men, there have been several disciplines that have each attempted in rather separate ways to describe and analyze, from very different perspectives, the relationship between families and business of different sizes and sectors. Anthropology, Sociology, History, Psychology, Law, Economics, and Management are probably the main disciplines that have devoted more efforts to study the subject from different theoretical interests and methodologies.

An increasingly large group of researchers have been trying in the last four decades to connect concepts and methods from these disciplines, in order to lay more scientific (and realistic) foundations to the international study of family controlled businesses. Not only because family business owners or managers have increasingly required from the academic community such a combination of skills in order to improve their chances of endurance in a new globalized age. Also, because society and our public institutions need to obtain complementary approaches to this subject, in order to evaluate and design appropriate policies when dealing with family controlled businesses that operate with different sizes, strategies, structures, and values.

The N.I.R.F.F. is a modest network composed of a few of such researchers who share a common interest in learning and exchanging knowledge about methodologies and theories related to family businesses, in a virtual and informal way. Our common goal is to achieve scientific tools that allow the correct analysis of particular case studies and above all the comparison and the elaboration of general conclusions. The network contains information about distinguished scholars from different disciplines and countries, in order to promote among them possibilities for: contact, organization of activities, knowledge exchange, and debate.

More information is provided on N.I.R.F.F.s homepage

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