19. maj 2016

We expand with a Niels Bohr Professorship

The Danish National Research Foundation grants Peter Norman Sørensen close to DKK 30 mil. for the establishment of the Niels Bohr Professor research center FAMBUSS. The center will be headed by professor Morten Bennedsen. Together with his crew of peers and young scholars he will analyze the world's most widely used form of organization, the family business. The project will increase our knowledge of how family owned business affects a company's organization and performance. The project analyzes the family owned business culture and innovation, leadership and future investments. Department of Economics will host the center and the research will be coordinated by Professor Peter Norman Sørensen.

The new center expands not only the department's number of research centers but also the research fields. Our future cultivation of the business field is tied to excellent departmental units covering core areas of economics at our department. FAMBUSS will have strong ties with two groups headed by the center host, Peter Norman Sørensen. They are the centers Microeconomic Research Unit (MRU) and Finance Research Unit (FRU). Also the Centre for Applied Microeconomics (CAM) and the Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU) will benefit from the knowledge exchange.

Morten Bennedsen is 1 of 7 new Niels Bohr Professors.

The FAMBUSS research plan

Ownermanaged and family enterprises differ significantly from non-family enterprises in organizational form, firm dynamics and corporate performance. While there is a growing understanding of the importance of the differential performance between family and non-family businesses, there is still little systematic knowledge about why family firms are different. For example, what is the relationship between family contributions and innovation? Does a family firm have a different internal organization? Is there a link between family values and leadership style? These are major research questions that have the potential to change our understanding of and improve performance and growth for the most typical firm in the world.

The project makes a ground breaking contribution as it is the first to develop a systematic approach to identify and measure a broad set of family assets. Morten Bennedsen and Joseph Fan invented the concept of family assets as a critical input to the different structure, performance and outcomes of family firms. Examples of family assets include the family name and legacy, the business-, family- and political networks, or the family- and cultural values.

Through developing survey and register based methods, the aim is to systematically quantify family assets in a large set of app. 20.000 firms and link this data to firm and family level data. The link between Bennedsen and the Danish context is crucial for this ambitious advancement of the research field: While Bennedsen is one of the leading researchers in the world in using register based corporate data, the Department of Economics has an internationally strong positioned group focusing on register based research.

The novel data will provide opportunities to answer many new research questions, including:

1) The link between family assets and innovation. This will be the first systematic empirical study of how family assets impact innovation.

2) The link between family assets and implicit labor contracts which will provide novel insights into the internal organization and labor incentives in owner managed firms.

3) The link between family assets and leadership and outcome in firms. This will be the first systematic study based on large scale data of how personal and family values affect leadership style and its impact on organizational structure and outcome.

4) The link between family assets and mergers and acquisitions.

This research project will help us better understand the most common corporate structure in the world. Furthermore, while it will be difficult to pursue large scale register based research in most countries, the project will be relevant for owner managed firms across the world, as they are very similar all over.

Professor Bennedsen and his research group on Family Business will bring world-leading research and a strong international network of accomplished scholars to the Department of Economics. The Niels Bohr Professorship will significantly advance the Danish – and the international – research frontier on Family Businesses.

FAMBUSS assembles a very strong group of eight international researchers from top business schools and universities in USA (Chicago Booth School, Columbia Business School, Ross School of Finance, Michigan), Europe (Bocconi University) and Asia (Hong Kong School of Science and Technology, National University of Singapore, Chinese University of Hong Kong) and integrates them into the group of researchers in finance and register based microeconometrics at the University of Copenhagen.