Family business and its unique characteristics is an area that traditionally has received relatively little research. Existing research needs to be augmented to assist families and professionals in dealing with issues facing family businesses.  

Research Focus

In 2014 the Centre undertook a research project to determine the extent of family business in Atlantic Canada.  Following the conclusion of the pilot study, a more fullsome survey was complleted in 2015 and the findings were shared at the Atlantic Canada Family Business Summit in May of 2016.

On September 1, 2018, Dr. Albert James was named the new Director of the Centre, and with that came a shift in focus from outreach to research.  In 2018-19, Dr. James will develop and clarify the research objectives and program that the Centre will pursue. This will be a process of consulting with Atlantic Canadian stakeholders and other key individuals in family business research, through which the key questions to be pursued by the Centre and the researchers who will be invited to participate in the Centre’s research network, will be identified.

Dr. James' research is motivated by his non-academic work experiences. His research crosses two streams, Family Business and Business Families and, second, Indigenous Peoples and Entrepreneurship. In his research he wants to understand success factors for both business activities and the families or people who engage in business.

Selected Publications

  • Bifurcated HR practices in family firms: Insights from the normative-adaptive approach to stepfamilies. Jennings, J.E., Dempsey, D., James, A.E. Human Resource Management Review 28(1), 68-82  (2018)
  • Is it better to govern managers via agency or stewardship? Examining asymmetries by family versus nonfamily affiliation. James, A.E., Jennings, J.E., Jennings, P.D. Family Business Review 30(3), 262-283  (2017)
  • When family members are also business owners: Implications of business ownership for family theory and research. Jennings, J.E., Breitkreuz, R.S., James, A.E. Family Relations 62(3), 472-489  (2013)
  • Theories from family science: A review and roadmap for family business research. Jennings, J.E., Breitkreuz, R.S., James, A.E. Invited chapter in Melin, L., Nordqvist, M., Sharma, P. (Eds.), Handbook of Family Business. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage  (2013)
  • Worlds apart? Re-bridging the distance between family science and family business research. James, A.E., Jennings, J.E., Breitkreuz, R.S. Family Business Review 25(1), 89-110  (2012)

STEP Project

In addition to our local research initiatives, Dalhousie is also one of four North American universities and the only Canadian university involved in the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Global Research Project. As a team member since 2011, the Centre strives to introduce leading research in family business to the Atlantic region.

Dr. James currently sits as the North American representative on the STEP Global Board.