The Network of Interdisciplinary Research in Family Firms (N.I.R.F.F.)

The Network of Interdisciplinary Research in Family Firms is an academic network composed of scholars from different scientific disciplines and countries who share a common interest in exchanging knowledge about methodologies and theories related to family businesses, in a virtual and informal way. Our common goal is to share scientific tools that significantly improve the analysis of particular case studies and above all that favour the comparison and the elaboration of general conclusions. The network offers information about distinguished scholars from different disciplines and countries specialized in the study of family businesses, in order to promote possibilities for: contact, organization of activities, knowledge exchange, and debate.

Last news

Paloma Fernández and Andrea Lluch edited a book about the evoltin of family business in Latin America and Spain

Family businesses are everywhere, but there is little information regarding their growth and development. This book is one of the few to analyse the identity and evolution of the largest family businesses in Latin America and Spain. With contributions from 20 scholars from 12 different countries, the book compares the relationship of families in business within their national economies, foreign capital, migration, and politics. The authors deny the existence of a ‘Latin type’ of family capitalism in their countries, and highlight diversity, and national and regional differences.

Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business

Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business, first issue.


International Business in Southern Europe in a Long Term Perspective

Paloma Fernández post in Family Business Wiki’s Town Square blog

Lessons from History. Families in Business? First, Families in Society... if you want to endure.

Paloma Fernández wins an ICREA Acadèmia Awards

Paloma Fernández wins an ICREA Acadèmia Awards granted by Fundació Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats.

Paloma Fernández interviewed at Gestión

Paloma Fernández interviewed at Gestión Peruvian Business and economy newspaper

Paloma Fernández coordinated a book about the professionalization of family business

Family businesses dominate and dominate business life in Spain, but we know almost nothing about the process of modernizing its management. In the last two centuries these companies and family-controlled groups have had to learn to go beyond their local and regional markets and find ways to adapt to the challenges of three technological revolutions that have changed the way they produce, to relate and think. The authors of La profesionalización de la empresa familiar (Pablo Diaz Morlan, Miguel A. López-Morell, Maria Mercedes Bernabe Perez, Jose Luis Garcia Ruiz, Elena San Roman Lopez, Maria Jesus Segovia Vargas, Susana Blanco Garcia, Javier Moreno Lázaro and Paloma Fernández) highlight how they have managed to preserve their roots at the same time have promoted professional management.

International comparison of SMEs in the world

A series of video interviews on the international comparison of SMEs in the world has been undertaken at the Management School of Lancaster University by professor Allan Discua Cruz.

  • ITALY (prof. A. Colli)
    About relevance
    About sectors/industries
    About the origins

  • GERMANY (Interview by Dr. Sascha Walter)

  • SPAIN (interview by Paloma Fernández UB)
    About a critique and applicability of theories
    About a historical perspective

  • CHINA (Interview by Director of Lancaster Univ. Confucius Institute)
    The relevance and uniqueness of the SMEs in China

  • Pablo Díaz Morlán and Mikel Sáez García international presence

    The work on the history of the Spanish steel industry developed by Professors Pablo Sáez Díaz García Morlan and Mikel, and in particular his work on the Sagunto plant, has generated interest among leading experts on company towns of Europe. As a result, Professor Saez has been invited by the prestigious Italian historian Giovanni Fontana to participate as a guest speaker in the international conference Company Towns in the World: Origins, Evolution and Rehabilitation, to be held in early October 2012 at the University of Padua (Italy). The paper could be published, after passing an evaluation process, in the monograph Comunità del lavoro: Città nel mondo e villaggi operai that Marsilio Editore published in the first half of 2013, regardless of the outcome of the evaluation, the text will to know through the website Company Towns in the World.

    Lourdes Casanova and Paloma Fernández article published

    Lourdes Casanova, INSEAD Professor of Strategy and Management School of Cornell University, published an article with Paloma Fernandez on key competitiveness of enterprises and the largest family business groups in Brazil, in the special issue on history of company and entrepreneurs in Latin America published later this year the Peruvian review Apuntes, edited by Martin Alberto Monsalve, the Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru.

    Paloma Fernández conference published

    The official journal of the Brazilian Association of Economic Historians has published the invited conference on possibilities and limitations of family business research in the world presented by professor Paloma Fernandez during the opening speech held in the annual congress of the association celebrated in Brasília on September 2010

    Document in pdf
    "A century of change. Entrepreneurial families and family businesses in Latin America and Spain in the last century"

    An international research project on family businesses in Latin America and Spain with a long-term interdisciplinary approach has been launched. "A century of change. Entrepreneurial families and family businesses in Latin America and Spain in the last century". Universitat de Barcelona, Sept 5-6 2011.

    Organization: Paloma Fernández (Dept Economic History/Centre d´Estudis Antoni de Capmany Universitat de Barcelona) and Andrea Lluch (CONICET)

    Contact:, and

    A century of change. Entrepreneurial families and family businesses in Latin America and Spain in the last century. María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
    María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)


    Description: With the sponsorship of FBBVA, experts from 11 countries have initiated a research project to study the transformations of family businesses in Latin America and Spain during the last century. A first meeting and workshop will take place at the Facultat d´Economia i Empresa at Universitat de Barcelona in Spain, September the 5th and 6th of September 2011. Participation (including virtual discussions) will include presentations from: María Inés Barbero and Andrea Lluch (Argentina), Mario Cerutti (Mexico), Carlos Dávila Ladrón de Guevara (Colombia), Martín Alberto Monsalve Zanatti (Perú), Jon Martínez (Chile), Armando Dalla Costa and Carlos Eduardo Drumond (Brazil), Ramón Piñango (Venezuela), Allan Discua Cruz (on Honduras, from the UK), Lourdes Casanova (on family global latinas, from France), Juan Carlos Leiva Bonilla and Erick Guillen Miranda (Costa Rica), and on Spain Paloma Fernández Pérez, Carmen Galve, Núria Puig, and Javier Vidal.
    Visit of MBA students of California State University
    Visit of MBA students of California State University to the Facultat d´Economia i Empresa of Universitat de Barcelona. Reception at Room Ernest Lluch organized by P. Fernández, with presentations by vicedeans Cristina Poblet and Jesús Marin, and entrepreneur and member of the Council of the Catalan Association of Family Firms Romà Vilaclara. 22 June 2011.
    Visit of MBA students of California State University to the Facultat d´Economia i Empresa of Universitat de Barcelona

    New book by Christina Lubinski
    New book by Chistina Lubinski

    From small start-ups to global corporations, family-owned businesses were the main pillar of West Germany's economic growth after World War II. They continue to shape the corporate landscape to this day. This book offers a path-breaking historical analysis of the peculiarities of their corporate governance, placing them within the wider context of the economic and social history of Germany. Based on both quantitative data and archivally-based case studies, the book explores how the relationship between the family and the firm changed in different industries over time. These changes did not - as often assumed - result in the decline of family businesses, but instead gave rise to a different kind of competitive and internationally-oriented "Mittelstand". The study integrates approaches from new institutional economics, cultural anthropology and family sociology in order to understand this critical turning point in German family business history. The book analyses changes in ownership and management, dynastic and succession strategies, as well as in the "psychology of ownership," with detailed case studies of large family businesses. The book offers a compelling explanation for the strong ownership concentration seen in German business, and reveals the malleable relationship between family and business. It provides rich empirical evidence which offers a new interpretation of family-influenced businesses as a dynamic force embedded in the economic, institutional and cultural setting of Germany.
    Xth International Congress of the AEHE
    Xth International Congress of the AEHE

    Professionalization of Family Firms in Spain and Latin America.
    Coordinators: Paloma Fernández (Universitat de Barcelona) y Elena San Román (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

    Program of the Xth Conference of the Spanish Association of Economic Historians.

    September 8-10, 2011
    Carmona (Spain)
    Globalizing Family Businesses for a Global EconomyGlobalizing Family Businesses for a Global Economy
    This panel proposal addresses with a transnational, comparative perspective some important long-term changes that large family firms have experienced in the world to overcome the challenges of globalization. Among these changes the panel focuses on the professionalization of management, new corporate governance structures, new financial tools, philanthropy, and internationalization. There will be five papers, dealing with large family firms in emerging economies, governance structures in large European family firms, Spanish multinationals in Latin America, Scandinavian family firms, and philanthropy of large family firms.
    Convenor / Chair Paloma Fernández

    London School of Economics
    April 14-17 2011
    Going Global: Internationalization Pathways for Family Firms During the 19th and 20th Century
    Going global
    Conveners: Christina Lubinski (Harvard Business School, GHI), Paloma Fernández Pérez (Dept. d'Història i Institucions. Econòmiques, Universitat de Barcelona), and Jeff Fear (University of Redlands)

    Workshop at the GHI
    February 18-19, 2011
    Washington DC



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