Developing online resources for family business education

GulAhmed Maqsood – MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Practice.

Family enterprises represent the majority of all companies and dominate the economic landscape around the world. While family businesses make up the overwhelming majority of all business enterprises, business schools have largely overlooked the unique and complex challenges associated with their management. Family businesses are different from other profit-seeking organizations, due to the family’s influence on the firm’s strategic goals, governance structures and competitive resources. Sometimes, the distinctive traits of family enterprises correspond to unique strengths and competitive advantages, but they can also cause severe organizational dysfunctions that may ultimately lead to poor enterprise performance. What is more, international figures show that only a marginal number of family enterprises survive generational transitions. How can family enterprises achieve a match between internal organizational capabilities and external environmental conditions that facilitates improved performance, potentially across generations?

family business educationFor many reasons, the case for family business education is being assertively advanced by several scholars, and a growing number of business schools are introducing family business courses and programs in their curricula. Because family business scholarship is still a relatively young field that tends to grow quickly and eclectically, the increasing demand for family business education puts educators in special need of guidance about how to identify and select learning resources.

The ultimate goal of the project is to help family business leaders learn better and faster, using innovative digital teaching methods in order to offer learning resources to a broad and global audience.

The project aims at developing online resources for lifelong education for family business leaders. Drawing from the expertise of researchers and teachers at the Centre for Family Business in ESI and extending the resources currently available in existing modules taught in LUMS, GulAhmed Maqsood along with Giuseppe Antonacci (Intern at the Centre for Family Business) are contributing to the development of an innovative on-line course on family business that can be accessible to both students and professionals globally. Making the course accessible and available to a wide audience is central to the projects aim and utilising technology will be fundamental in achieving this.

Online learning plays a significant role, especially in lifelong education. Courses that embed elements of online learning have been shown to produce stronger student learning outcomes than do classes with solely face-to-face instruction. Moreover, business professionals such as managers, advisors and policy makers around the globe are in urgent need for developing the awareness, skills and capabilities to tackle family business management issues and help family firms grow and succeed across generations. Working with family business researchers and teachers in ESI, the project will also help to develop video and other online activities, and to modify existing resources so as to integrate them into existing and new online courses.

It is this mix between technology and business that first interested GulAhmed in the project.  He aims to deliver a prototype online course, for a suitable online platform, by the end of an intensive period of work on the project. Discounting the time pressures he faces, GulAhmed knows he needs to make sure that what is produced meets the core requirement of accessibility. To do this he will need to identify appropriate software that he can use in planning, development and the delivery of the finished product. He hopes that this prototype will eventually form the basis for a successful and innovative programme that will help family businesses across the globe.

The project is complete and the outcomes are delivered in a series of blogs:

Phase 1: Selecting the platform for an innovative online course

Phase 2: Creating a structure for an online course

Phase 3: Strategic plans for the innovative online courses


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