Faculty & Leadership Blog / Research and Practice

Thirty-Seven Academic Institutions Participate In Inaugural STEP Global Academic Conference

Babson College hosted the inaugural STEP Project for Family Enterprise Global Academic Conference at its new Boston campus location on October 13-15, 2016.  Fifty-five STEP scholars from 35 outstanding academic institutions representing 29 countries (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Venezuela), arrived in Boston excited and prepared to present their research and provide feedback in an engaging and supportive academic atmosphere.  Sponsorship for the conference was generously provided by the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College.

Professor Matt Allen

Professor Matt Allen

Since the founding of the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project, significant progress has been made in expanding our understanding of entrepreneurship within the context of family owned enterprises. With 37 academic institutions across the globe involved in the project, this progress can be attributed to scholars involved in STEP.  This academic conference allowed STEP scholars to showcase their great work within the realm of transgenerational entrepreneurship.  It also provided a venue for receiving valuable feedback on their research and strengthened the ties between STEP team members across the globe. Scholars of all levels presented research at all stages in a variety of formats including traditional paper sessions, poster sessions, and round table sessions.  Twenty-nine research papers were presented at the conference that included 18 roundtable discussions, 4 full paper presentations, and 7 poster presentations.

Purposely intended to be highly interactive, sessions were designed around starting new collaborative projects from facilitated brainstorming and also included a speed networking session to get to know other STEP scholars and their research.  Panel sessions were also conducted and provided insights into teaching and research within the context of family business from the perspective of 3 Babson College undergraduate students and practitioner, Stephen Martiros, ’83, M’85, an Entrepreneur in Residence with the Babson Institute of Family Entrepreneurship.

In addition, a special track was held for the Latin American region to transform STEP research cases into teaching cases.   Two cases were accepted to this special track.  Many thanks to Ezequiel Alejandro Martin Reficco and Luis Diaz Matajira, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia and the STEP LA Editorial Team Juan O. Rivera-Algarín, Inter American University of Puerto Rico; Nunzia Auletta, IESA, Venezuela; and Gustavo A. Gonzalez-Couture, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia for leading this session and providing peer review for potential publication for these cases.

STEP members enjoyed two special evenings of seated dinners with their STEP colleagues. The first dinner was held at Legal Sea Foods Harborside Restaurant in Boston, where our special guest Roger Berkowitz (proud owner of this successful and entrepreneurial, 4th generation family business) visited with each table to talk about his own family business experience.

We enjoyed our last evening together with a special Awards dinner at Fleming’s Steakhouse and Wine Bar to celebrate the STEP scholar’s achievements, hard work and presentations at the conference.  Congratulations to the following STEP scholars for receiving $250 Awards in the following categories.

Best Full Paper Presentation – James Davis

“Family Functioning, Entrepreneurship and Performance:  The case of family business”

Co-authors: Matt Allen (Babson College), James Davis and Holly Ferraro (Utah State University), Albert James (Dalhousie University), Bill Worthington (Baylor University)

Best Poster Presentation – Eric Clinton

“Entrepreneurial Learning Processes in a Transgenerational Entrepreneurial Family Firm”

Co-authors: Eric Clinton, Maura McAdam, Martina Brophy (Dublin City University)

Best Roundtable 1 – Leilanie Mohd Nor

“Family Character is Company Character:  An Islamic Family Business in Malaysia”

Co-authors: Leilanie Mohd Nor, Mohar Yusof (UNIRAZAK), James Hoopes (Babson College)

Best Roundtable 2 – Albert James

“Redefining Wealth in the Family Business”

Co-authors: Matt Allen (Babson College), James Davis and Holly Ferraro (Utah State University), Albert James (Dalhousie University), Bill Worthington (Baylor University)

Most Engaged Scholar – Nunzia Auletta, Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración, Venezuela

In addition, the following scholars received a prize to recognize their outstanding efforts at the conference for participation.

  • Most feedback forms completed: Eddy Laveren, Antwerp Management School, Belgium
  • Most Selfies with Other Members awarded to Jaly Chea, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala

During the conference, Gianluca Colombo and Ivona Ljumic (Università della Svizzera italiana), hosts of the 2017 STEP Global Summit in Lugano, Switzerland provided a brief presentation about the 2017  Summit Program and announced the launch of the STEP Global Summit website.  The theme of the Summit is “Thriving on Chaos.  How Family Firms And Entrepreneurial Families Can Flourish In The New Global Disorder and Impact on the Global Economy”.  The STEP Summit model is unique in that it brings together academics and families to move discoveries from research to practice and to discuss key benchmarking indicators.  The Summit is a warm and welcoming event where a shared learning environment of researchers interact with family business leaders to generate solutions that have immediate impact.  We look forward to meeting global STEP families and STEP academics in Lugano on November 8-11, 2017!

Pre-conference activities

A half-day teaching case workshop was held prior to the conference and attended by over 25 STEP scholars.  Workshop organizers Ilse Matser and Margré Heetebrij-van Dalfsen (Windesheim University) and Ramachandran Subramanian and Isabel Botero (Stetson University) created a program to develop teaching cases from the STEP research cases.  STEP researcher and experienced case writer Ramachandran Subramanian led this successful workshop highlighting what a teaching case is; identifying elements of a good teaching case; the case writing process; the instructor’s teaching note requirement and the best outlet for publication opportunities for these cases.

After the workshop, meetings were held for each of the regions–Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America to discuss governance rotations, new member introductions, research activities, publications, and other regional STEP matters.

That evening, the STEP Global Board held their annual face to face meeting at a local Boston restaurant. All STEP Global Board members including Board Chair Carole Howorth, Bradford Univ., UK; Kevin Au, (CUHK) Hong Kong; Candida Brush (Babson College); Giovanna Campopiano, (Witten/Herdecke), Germany; Hsi-Mei Chung, (National Sun Yat-sen) Taiwan; James Davis (Utah State) USA; Ana Cristina Gonzalez (Icesi) Colombia; Albert James, (Dalhousie University) Canada; Ilse Matser, (Windesheim University) Netherlands; and Francisca Sinn Rosende, (UAI) Chile, were present at the Board meeting.

STEP Global Director Prof. Matt Allen, Assistant Director Val Duffy and Administrative Assistant Susan Sutherland did a fantastic job planning, implementing, and welcoming the STEP community to Boston for the Project’s first Academic conference.  STEP Conference attendee and LA Council member Francisca Sinn Rosende (UAI, Chile) commented, “It was really well thought, and from my perspective goals were more than achieved.   I came back home inspired to continue my research efforts, with new ideas and also some possible collaboration projects with other STEP colleagues.  Thank you very much!”