Lancaster University - Transforming Tomorrow

Transforming Tomorrow 10 Longevity and resilience are crucial aspects of sustainability - and family businesses are a bellwether of the wider economy. They face many obstacles in order to survive and thrive. Working with partners in other Lancaster University Management School research centres, we engaged with family businesses to explore how they understood resilience, in partnership with Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC). Family businesses make up a substantial element of any economy, and their resilience is crucial. Resilience implies challenges, which organisations face from a multitude of sources – including climate change and biodiversity loss – that require them to adapt and develop so they can continue to provide goods/services, employment, and returns to their owners. Family businesses have weathered many storms and have unique insights into longevity, inter-generational thinking and other strategies organisations can learn from. The flip side is that some kinds of resilience can ingrain negatives, e.g. gender bias, that can affect a family business’s ability to adapt and flourish. This thinking underpinned the Resilience and Family Business workshop, co-organised by the Pentland Centre, the Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership, the Centre for Family Business and theWork Foundation, in April 2022. More than thirty family business representatives, policy-makers, and academic contributors engaged in frank, generative dialogue about the concept of resilience and its multiple interpretations through the lenses of planet, place and people – all within the context of family business. The workshop acknowledged the complexity of family businesses, the non-linearity of transformation, and the urgency to respond to the climate and biodiversity crisis. Analyses of power relations went hand-in-hand with agreement that there is a need for diversity, and for all voices to be honoured. The value and importance of place and community, and of concepts of guardianship and stewardship, were also explored. The Pentland Centre are committed to continuing this work. In particular, we will: n Develop structured conversations around resilience in family business – both roundtables with family business members about crisis response, and with representative groups to explore themes that emerged from the workshop. n Conduct a wider ranging survey of resilience in family business, drawing from the above conversations. n Develop protocols for identifying examples of where family business has navigated challenges in ways that have built resilience across multiple domains. The full workshop report can be downloaded here: Resilience and Family Business