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Every week a business school professor, an expert in his or her field, defines a key term on FT Lexicon, our online economics, business and finance glossary.
Our professor this week
Miruna Radu Lefebvre is the holder of the family entrepreneurship and society chair at Audencia Nantes Schools of Management, France. She received her doctoral degree in social psychology of communication from the University Sorbonne Nouvelle and her MA in political science from IEP Paris. She holds a BA in political science from the University of Bucharest. A Romanian native, she has spent most of her academic life researching and teaching in France. In the past, she received the International Journal of Small Business best paper of the year award, and the EFMD Conference best paper award.
As an associate professor of entrepreneurship and marketing, Prof Radu Lefebvre teaches modules on business planning and advertising. Her research investigates the role and impact of media and interpersonal communications in fostering entrepreneurial intention and behaviour. She is the author of two books on persuasion and leadership: Psychologie de la communication et de la persuasion : théories et applications, and Leadership et Management: être Leader, ça s’apprend, both published by De Boeck Université. Her work has been published in key academic journals including: The Journal of Small Business Management, The International Journal of Small Business, The Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research and The Journal of Enterprising Culture.
Her current work addresses the issues of the social representation and identity of family businesses in France and other European countries, as well as the impact of interpersonal communication and relationship in building and sharing entrepreneurial values and norms across generations in family business contexts.
Prof Radu Lefebvre has chosen to define the term “family business”.
Why Prof Radu Lefebvre thinks it is important to understand family businesses
“In most countries around the world, including the OECD countries, family businesses represent 70 to 95 per cent of all companies,” explains Prof Radu Lefebvre . In Europe alone, she says, they account for more than 60 per cent of firms and for 40 to 50 per cent of employment. She also points out that family businesses are a significant force in the US, where they generate about half of the gross national product and create more than 85 per cent of new jobs.
“Academic research demonstrates that family businesses are beneficial to the society and the economy, as they are stable and profitable over the long term, and highly involved in their communities,” says Prof Radu Lefebvre. But she adds: “Despite the crucial role they play in the world economy, they are still often negatively portrayed and poorly understood by the public opinion.”
To find out more about family business click on the hyperlinked term.