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AUS professor releases new academic text on family business
Business students and academics will benefit from brand-new family business textbook edited by Dr. Rodrigo Basco, Associate Professor and Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid bin Khalid Al-Qassimi Chair in Family Business at American University of Sharjah. Family Business and Regional Development explores the relationship between families, firms and regions, and the extent to which these relationships contribute to regional economic and social development.
Published by global academic publishing house Routledge, the book is co-edited by Roger Stough, former Northern Virginia Endowed Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, USA, and Lech Suwala, Professor of Urban and Regional Economics at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany.
Having just hosted the highly successful online Family Business in the Arab World Conference in November, Dr. Basco said the book presents a model of "regional familiness" and uses themes such as productivity, networks and competitiveness to shed new light on the role family businesses play in our societies.
“This book will be valuable reading for advanced students, researchers and policymakers interested in family firms, regional studies and economic geography. It evaluates the juxtaposition between family business and regional studies to encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas, theories and research methods between the two fields,” he said.
The book provides several examples of how family businesses contribute to economic and social development around the world. Dr. Basco said a good example of family firm contribution is “the local UAE-based Danube Group owned and managed by the Sajan family, who demonstrated their commitment to the UAE community in 2020.
During the initial phase of the coronavirus pandemic, Danube Group helped the community by donating AED 1 million worth of food kits to help people affected by the pandemic across the UAE. From their local warehouse facilities, Danube staff distributed about 20,000 food kits to individuals who had lost their jobs or had not received their salary due to the outbreak. This philanthropy was further extended to Danube Group employees when CEO Rizwan Sajan made an unprecedented announcement that staff would be reimbursed the 30 per cent pay cut imposed in April and May and that no job cuts would be made.
“Family capitalism is embedded in our economic and social life. Thus, family business is not a new phenomenon but an old one that was recently discovered for business consultants, policymakers, politicians and academics,” said Dr. Basco.
“The importance of family firms lies not in the number of family businesses per se but in how they interconnect family, market and society within their embedded local environment. How these interconnected interactions occur within the geographical space as well as their evolution over the time make the family business and important economic actor,” he said.
Dr. Basco’s book will be an important resource for his students in the School of Business Administration (AUS), which offers a series of courses in family business. With family business contributing massively to the UAE economy, many AUS students pursue their studies with the view to join their own family businesses upon graduation.
“The family firm is a dominant form of organization in the world. No matter where I go, no matter what industry I visit, no matter how big the business is, the ghost of family business is there,” said Dr. Basco.
The book has already received international acclaim for the first chapter “Spatial Familiness and Family Spatialities—Searching for Fertile Ground between Family Business Studies and Regional Studies” at the Sixth International Research Forum on Mittelstand Conference organized by the University of Mannheim, Germany.
For more information about Dr. Rodrigo Basco and his work at the School of Business Administration at American University of Sharjah, visit www.aus.edu/sba.