Family Business Management

- Einingabær námskeið í samstarfi við Viðskiptadeild Háskólans á Akureyri


Námskeið á meistarastigi við Viðskiptadeild Háskólans á Akureyri. 

What the course “Family Business Management” is about?

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. 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.

Ath. námskeiðið er kennt á ensku. 

Hagnýtar upplýsingar

Why is studying family business management important?

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.

There are several factors attributing to family business mortality. Nevertheless, when we look deeper into this matter, we see that family businesses face many more (yet different) challenges than non-family firms. These challenges mainly result from the intertwinement between the family system and the business system within a family business. For instance, family businesses need to deal with family relationships and potential family conflicts, pressure to remain family control over the business, selection of family leaders, succession issues, and wealth preservation across generations etc.

Consequently, these challenges may need to be addressed differently from non-family firms. Therefore, it is important to understand properly the unique challenges represented in family firms in order to design and implement suitable governance structures rather than “blindly” employ the same mechanisms often used in non-family firms.

Additionally, despite the recent increased attention in family business research, teaching family business, however, remains very limited at universities. As a consequence, students and practitioners have limited access to this spectrum of knowledge. The introduction of this course at the University of Akureyri aims to fill this gap.

Fyrirkomulag fjarnáms

Allir fyrirlestrar eru teknir upp og aðgengilegir á kennsluvef námskeiðsins.

Kennari verður með reglulega Zoom fundi með nemendum yfir önnina sem auglýstir eru síðar. 


What are the main expected outcomes of this course?

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.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that this course does not aim to provide students with a comprehensive “tools” or “remedies” to solve all governance challenges in family firms. Rather, it constitutes a critical knowledge that guides them through the process of tackling various governance issues that they encounter in a family business of which they may own or work for.


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.


Trung Quang Ðinh lektor við Viðskipta- og raunvísindasvið HA.


About the teacher:
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.


There a no startdates for this programme yet.

Áhugavert námskeið sem vert er að skoða