Managing Family Business in Tourism

Lecturer: Dr. Stephen Oduro
Degree: Master in Tourism Management @ Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Semester: 2nd

Educational objectives

The course refers to the typical educational activities chosen by the student and belongs to the scientific area of Business Administration. Being naturally multidisciplinary, it draws on a wide range of management disciplines.
Family businesses are the most prevalent form of business organization in global tourism. It is estimated that, in Italy, family businesses are about 784,000, more than 85% of the overall number of businesses, generating about 70% of employment. The contribution of family-owned businesses to the Italian economic environment is still more pronounced. Family-owned firms possess the values and strengths of both the family and business; however, their separate needs unearth challenges that can threaten business survival and continuity. The unique nature of family-owned firms demands specific strategies and techniques to augment their opportunities for long-term success. Family involvement causes family businesses to have unique organisational goals, structures and resources that eventually create distinctive management challenges for owners and managers. The family is an important source of competitive advantage for many firms, on the other hand it may cause serious dysfunctions in the business. For these reasons, family businesses require distinctive strategies and managerial practices in order to achieve
success. What is more, international figures show that only a marginal number of family enterprises survives generational transitions. How can family enterprises achieve a match between internal organizational capabilities and external environmental conditions that facilitates improved performance, potentially across generations?
This course provides students with theoretical frameworks and practical tools to build an enlightened understanding of how to work entrepreneurially and professionally, in and with family firms, and effectively manage the unique challenges and dilemmas faced by family enterprises in the tourism sector and beyond. Topics covered include family business governance, strategic management, family-driven innovation and entrepreneurial management, leadership succession, family-centred goals and goal setting processes, lifecycles and temporal family dynamics, professionalization and stakeholder management. This course will be beneficial to those students who are members of a family with established business interests, will likely find themselves working for a family-owned firm, and/or might be associated with such organizations in a professional capacity through such roles as consultant, accountant, lawyer, banker or even researcher. The course includes guest lectures from local, national and
international family business leaders, consultants and experts, consistent with the practice-oriented nature of this course and the goal of the Unibz Centre for Family Business Management to foster interactions and connections between the students and the surrounding business and entrepreneurial community.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to family business in tourism: resources, and economic and noneconomic goals
  • Conceptual models, types and heterogeneity of family firms
  • Managing leadership succession in family firms
  • Innovation and technology management in family firms
  • Managing agency and trust relationships in the family firms
  • Professionalization, growth, and family business governance
  • Story-telling and strategic use of history in family business
  • Innovation through tradition in family firms
  • Generational transitions, female leadership, and the advantages of intergenerational cooperation
  • The Trust as a tool for generational transfer and the continuity of family firm activity
  • Introduction to case study analysis and Case study