A new master's course in Business Administration

Family Business Management offered for the first time in Iceland
A new master's course in Business Administration

For the first time in Iceland, the course “Family Business Management” is offered at the University of Akureyri. “This is a new and unique course in our management program. The course covers various aspects in managing family business. These aspects include strategic management in family firms, family control in ownership and management, resource-based views of family firms, and issues in family business continuity,” says Trung Quang Ðinh, assistant professor and the course supervisor.  

The course also discusses different governance structures that may facilitate firms leverage their family advantages and deal with management challenges that are unique to them.  

The importance of business management  

“It is interesting to observe that people often relate “family business” to small business activity that is run by few family members. Although this perception is not wrong, but it is not necessarily true. Many people probably do not know that Volkswagen, Ford Motors, L’Oréal or IKEA are family firms. This is to say that family businesses come in all sizes ranging from small business scale to very large corporations operating at global scale. Yet, many of them remain closely held while many others are publicly traded on stock exchanges. Indeed, family businesses account for 70-90 percent of the total enterprises in many economies around the world and contribute significantly to employment and GDP. However, studies show that less than 5 percent of family businesses survive beyond their third generation. This is a sad and alarming fact given their important role in national economies,” says Trung Quang Ðinh.   

The learning outcomes for this course 

 Upon completion of the course, students should be able to: 

  • Describe common characteristics of family businesses 

  • Use relevant theories to reflect and analyze common governance problems in family firms 

  • Discuss and evaluate various governance constellations in family firms 

  • Help family businesses better understand their strength and weakness 

  • Assist family businesses in designing appropriate governance mechanisms 

  • Help family owners manage potential family conflicts 

  • Advise family owners on a sound succession planning process 

“After studying this course, students should be able to comprehend the very characteristics of family firms and their economic role. More importantly, students should be able to identify and discuss potential advantages as well as exclusive challenges represented in family firms. They should also be informed that family firms may need different governance constellations to address such challenges,” says Trung Quang Ðinh.   

All graduate students can enroll 

This course is open to all graduate students who have interest in studying family business. “This course is beneficial to those who currently work for family firms or come from business families, or those who plan to establish their own business in the future. Since this course is new and only available at the University of Akureyri starting from spring semester 2022, we advise prospective students to contact our office manager regarding the deadline for enrollment,” says Trung Quang Ðinh. 

Who is Trung Quang Ðinh?

“In 2018 I earned my doctorate in governance and family business studies at Witten Institute for Family Business, Witten/Herdecker University, Germany. During my doctoral studies until now, I have engaged in several research projects and published articles in different journals in this field such as Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and International Journal of Management Reviews. Prior to my academic career, I worked for both family and non-family firms from different industry including retails, manufacturing, property development, and aviation. My industry insights and on-going academic experience will certainly enrich the course,” says Trung Quang Ðinh.