How Do Scholars Choose Their Fields? “A Family Business Focus” Profiles Pramodita Sharma / Photo: Sally McCay

Pramodita Sharma, Editor of Family Business Review, was profiled on the University of Vermont’s University Communications website. Dr. Sharma, the Sanders Professor for Family Business at the School of Business Administration, talked about the roots of her passion for family business, a field she helped define, as well as her current research.

From “A Family Business Focus”:

Although it was not her own, the decision new generations make to join a family business is of particular interest to Sharma today. She’s finding that the commitment level and reasons why younger generations join the family business tend to fall in four categories: need (can’t find another job), greed (don’t want someone else to benefit from the family business), a desire to contribute (help family and others), and obligation (parental pressure). Sharma and a colleague from Concordia wrote an award-winning theory paper about this topic in 2005 and have collected comparative data in Canada and Switzerland. They are now focusing on whether it matters why someone joins the family business, and if performance varies among these categories.

“We’re asking if it matters why someone joins,” says Sharma, who delivered the keynote address “Governing a Family, a Firm, and a Family Enterprise: How a Family Enterprise can Achieve Sustainability” at the 2011 Asia Pacific Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices Family Summit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. “The first question is will they join; the second is will they stay; and the third is what their performance is like. Surprisingly, we found that the ‘obligation’ people and the ‘desire’ people tend to stay and perform, depending on their abilities and their consciousness. The ones who come for need don’t do well and tend to have no self-confidence and low efficacy. They don’t go away, nor do they perform.”

Click here to read the rest of the profile at

Family Business Review (FBR), a refereed journal published quarterly since 1988, is a scholarly publication devoted exclusively to exploration of the dynamics of family-controlled enterprise, including firms ranging in size from the very large to the relatively small. Click here for information on manuscript submission.

In March 2012, FBR published a special issue celebrating its 25th anniversary. Please follow this link to read the introduction co-authored by Dr. Sharma, James J. Chrisman of  Mississippi State University, and Kelin E. Gersick of Lansberg, Gersick and Associates LLC.

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