Institute for Family Business named entrepreneurship project coordinator

By Jennifer Kang

Baylor has been chosen to collaborate with Babson College in the first global research study on entrepreneurship in family businesses.

Babson College has named Baylor’s Institute for Family Business in the Hankamer School of Business as the regional coordinator for the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices Project.

The Babson College’s website says The STEP Project is a global applied research initiative that analyzes the entrepreneurial process of family businesses and develops solutions for challenges that threaten them.

Dr. Pramodita Sharma, global director of STEP, says more than 40 schools approached Babson to join this project.

Babson chose schools based on how well respected they were in entrepreneurial family enterprise studies and whether scholars fit the collaborative culture and applied research nature of the program.

“For Baylor’s Hankamer Institute for Family Business three factors were found noteworthy in this decision. First, the incredible leadership provided by Prof. Ray Bagby in the field of entrepreneurship over the years, the dedicated work done by the Institute in family business programs in Texas, and the energetic team of scholars, such as Prof. William Worthington, who are eager to join the global networks of scholars interested in studying transgenerational entrepreneurial firms,” Sharma wrote in an email to the Lariat.

Dr. William Worthington IV, assistant professor of strategy and family business, said Baylor and Babson College have interacted before at various conferences on family businesses.

“They knew we were involved in family businesses for many, many years,” Worthington said. “They had also seen our recent activities through multiple academic conferences.”

Worthington said the Entrepreneurship Practices Project began in 2005 and the project went to Europe to find out how family businesses were successful after staying in families for three or four generations.

After STEP launched in Europe, it launched in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region and now North America.

“The entry into North America is where Baylor comes in,” Worthington said. “We’re not just doing qualitative case study work like they did in Europe, but we’re going to add a quantitative research methodology as well.”

Dr. Kendall Artz, chairman of the management and entrepreneurship department, said Baylor has had a strong reputation in family business ever since the entrepreneurship program was founded in the late 1970s.

“Baylor is known as the place to go if you’re interested in family business and has a national reputation in that area,” Artz said. “So it would be natural for Baylor to be included in this type of affiliation because of their current strength and historical strength in family businesses.”

Artz said as regional coordinator, Baylor will do case research on different family businesses and provide information to those connected with STEP.

“We will analyze family businesses and then provide that information to others,” Artz said. “Baylor will coordinate the research efforts and act as the hub, if you will, for research efforts that are going on at other schools throughout the network.”

Baylor was chartered in 1845 and since then, a number of family-owned businesses have been associated with Baylor, either directly or indirectly.

The mission of the Institute for Family Business, according to Baylor’s Institute for Family Business website, is to help family businesses survive to the second and third generations and beyond.

Worthington said this connection with Babson College and designation of regional coordinator is a great vehicle to increase the interaction between Baylor and family businesses, by engaging the family business people inside classrooms.

“The people can be research subjects for our case studies and fill out surveys,” Worthington said. “We will be able to take the accumulation of not only our knowledge, but also a combined knowledge that STEP is creating as a global body, and be able to repackage that and send it out and help family businesses become more successful.”