COMMGMT 7088 - Small and Family Business Perspectives (M)

North Terrace Campus - Trimester 2 - 2017

The course aims to enhance students' understanding of the characteristics, contributions, and issues surrounding the management and growth of small firms and family businesses. Topics include small firm and family business characteristics and significance, developing a business plan, choice of organisational structure and implications, financing start-up and growth, principles of sound financial management, managing ownership/management/business transitions, role of advisors such as accountants, role of government policy, emerging issues in small firm and family business research. The course will appeal to those who are interested in starting up their own business, as well as those interacting with small firms and family businesses as advisors, managers and policy-makers.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMMGMT 7088
    Course Small and Family Business Perspectives (M)
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Business School
    Term Trimester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 36 hours
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Assignments/tests/group work as prescribed at first lecture
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Francesco Barbera

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Family businesses make a significant contribution to the economic development of national economies around the world. According to latest statistics, most Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are family-controlled businesses. Further the majority of large (public and private) firms are either directly or indirectly family owned and/or controlled. Therefore it is important to have an understanding of the issues facing these firms as well as the ability to apply theory in order to make sense of these issues. As a consequence, the overarching objective of this course is for students to …

    1. Understand the case study method:
    a. How to analyse case studies
    i. Active reading
    ii. Critical thinking
    iii. Problem solving
    b. How to discuss case studies
    i. Forming an argument
    ii. Public speaking
    iii. How to write about case studies
    c. Witting case based essays

    2. Master family business theories and frameworks:
    a. Systems theory
    b. The Resource Based View
    c. Agency theory
    d. Stewardship perspective
    e. Socio-Emotional Wealth
    f. Integrative Model of Succession
    g. Balanced Scorecard

    3. Master case issues:
    Students will be exposed to multiple types of family business cases so as to create a wealth of experience, knowledge and ability to recognize common issues and apply theoretical models.

    4. Master the art of presentation:
    Working in teams, students will become highly skilled in public speaking, presentations and visual aid creation. The course will focus on both public and private presentations of analysis and recommendations consistent with both professional family business consultancy and case presentations within the academic setting.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    a) There are two primary textbook resources which are required for this course:

    1. William Ellet (2007). The Case Study Handbook: How to Read, Discuss, and Write Persuasively About Cases. (Harvard Business Press) – Free access through MyUni.

    2. Poza & Daugherty (2014). Family Business. (South-Western Cengage Learning) – Ebook available for purchase though Cengage (link posted on MyUni).

    Textbooks will be available for purchase. Alternatively you can purchase an e-book version of the text at a significantly discounted rate. The e-book version has the following features:
    -Available on your laptop, smartphone, tablet or online
    -Use the search function to locate key concepts

    b) Academic readings: Many of the readings for this course have been taken from academic sources. These are listed in the detailed course timetable (available in Canvas). Rather than students having to purchase these texts (or borrow and photocopy the relevant sections from the library), electronic copies of these readings are available for download from the course’s MyUni website.

    c) Case studies – in order for students to get a realistic experience in the issues facing family businesses, this course utilizes multiple case studies. These are listed in the detailed course timetable (available in Canvas). Rather than students having to purchase these cases, electronic copies are available for download from the course’s MyUni website.
    Recommended Resources
    Other reading resources which students may find useful include:

    • Au, Craig, & Ramachandran (2011). Family Enterprise In The Asia Pacific (Edward Elgar Publishing).
    • Sorenson, Yu, Brigham, & Lumpkin (2013). The Landscape Of Family Business (Edward Elgar Publishing).
    • Esteban Brenes (2011). Understanding Entrepreneurial Family Businesses in Uncertain Environments (Edward Elgar Publishing).
    • Sharma, Nason, & Sieger (2013). Exploring Transgenerational Entrepreneurship (Edward Elgar Publishing).
    • Nordqvist & Zellweger (2011) Transgenerational Entrepreneurship (Edward Elgar Publishing).
    Online Learning
    Please make sure to check the course’s MyUni website regularly as this will be the main method in which I communicate to students and make additional information and resources available.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Intensive seminars - these mandatory 7.5 hour sessions will consist of a variety of lectures, class discussions, case study analysis, and student presentations. The lectures will provide students with an overview of the case method, family business issues, and theoretical frameworks used in the course. The case study discussions, analyses, and presentations will provide students with an opportunity to apply learnt theory to real-life family business situations. The presentations will be conducted by student groups and follow a case study analysis approach, i.e. problem definition, main analysis, alternatives, recommendation, and implementation. Students should come prepared for intensive seminar. This includes undertaking the prescribed reading and attempting the discussion questions for that topic. Given the intense nature of these seminars, students will also have an opportunity to work with their groups during class times. Please note that attendance at every intensive session is required in order to pass the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Over the trimester, students are expected to devote an average of 12 hours per week to studying this course. This means that, in addition to attending intensive seminars during the intensives, you are expected to commit an average of 9 hours per week of private study over the duration of the semester. Private study will be required to prepare for the intensive classes as well as for completing assessment tasks.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Please refer to the detailed course timetable in the course outline for an overview of the topics covered in this course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting Learning Outcome
    Class Participation 10%
    Midterm Exam 30%
    Case Presentations 30%
    Final Exam 30%
    Total 100%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    • To pass this course students must achieve a final grade of at least 50%.
    • Physical attendance in ALL intensive seminars is compulsory (unless a legitimate medical certificate is presented, in which case the student must make up for what was missed).
    • The tests are conducted under closed book conditions and no materials whatsoever will be permitted to be taken into the test. Dictionaries of any kind are NOT permitted.
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial Participation (10%)
    In order to encourage class discussion and give students the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the prescribed readings and case discussion, 10 percent of assessment will be based on class participation. When determining participation marks, the lecturer will be taking the following into account:

    - Comes prepared: refers to notes, introduces ideas and questions from the week’s text
    - Contributes ideas: adds new ideas, suggests new connections, raises relevant issues
    - Asks questions of clarification: re concepts, terminology, expectations
    - Facilitates peer interaction: builds on others’ ideas, uses humour positively, stays on track
    - Expresses ideas clearly: ideas are understood by others, pace and volume appropriate.

    Midterm Exam (30%)
    The midterm exam will test students on their knowledge of the family business theories taught in the first half of the class. The exam will last 2 hours in a controlled environment. The test will be conducted under closed book conditions (no material or dictionaries permitted). Further details regarding the tests (including format) will be communicated via MyUni.

    Case Presentations (30%)
    Case studies are an effective way to learn about complex issues. By using real-life examples, students will be able to better comprehend the opportunities and challenges facing family businesses. This aspect of the class will consist of 3 case study presentations (each worth 10%). These will be undertaken as a group exercise which will run throughout the trimester. As there will be multiple ways to interpret a case, the main purpose of these presentations is to formulate an argument which identifies what should be done and why it should be done, using ample case evidence (in the form of citations, facts, figures, etc.) to support the argument. These presentations are about making sense of actual family business issues, applying the theories and frameworks learnt in the course, problem solving and decision making in complex situations, coping with ambiguities, and working in a team.

    There are two main components to the presentation: 1) the presentation itself, where students will be assessed on their ability to analyse the case and make meaningful recommendations, and 2) a defence of their recommendation, where students will field questions from the audience which are designed to challenge their findings (a grading rubric will be provided on MyUni).

    Each presentation should include the following components:

    - Introduction: Identify the agenda, your team and your audience, i.e. who are you (consultants, students, etc.) and who are you reporting to (shareholders, the family, the board of directors, management, employees, etc.)?
    - Problem definition: What is the main problem? What are the causes of this problem? How can they (briefly) be resolved? This should be the theme throughout the presentation.
    - Analysis: Conduct an extensive analysis using relevant theories and frameworks from the class to explain the likely causes and outcomes of your identified problem.
    - Decision Criteria: Based on your analysis, list the key decision criteria which will need to be addressed in order to resolve the identified problem.
    - Alternative solutions: Drawing upon the concepts learned in this course, formulate feasible solutions and identify the pros and cons of each. Relate the pros and cons to the previously identified decision criteria.
    - Recommendation: Select the solution that best resolves the main problem, identify the action plan that should be taken, the risks to your recommendation, and how these risks might be mitigated.
    - Implementation: How do you plan to implement your recommendation? What are the key steps, who is involved, and what is the proposed timeline?
    - Desired state: From a family business perspective, outline the ultimate goals that you wish to achieve and specifically relate these to your recommendation.

    More information about how to present a case study analysis will be made available to students during the semester.

    Final Exam (30%)
    The final exam will require students to amalgamate all of the knowledge gained in the course toward specific essay questions as well as a single case study. The exam will last 2 hours in a controlled environment. The test will be conducted under closed book conditions (no material or dictionaries permitted). Further details regarding the tests (including format) will be communicated via MyUni.
    All assessments will be conducted in class. Students are expected to submit their work on-site to maintain a fair and equitable system. Extensions will generally only be given for medical or other serious reasons. All requests for extensions must be emailed to the lecturer in charge of the course before the due date. Each request will be assessed on its merits
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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