2023-2024 / GEST3782-1

Introduction to family business entrepreneurship


18h Th

Number of credits

 Master in management (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Master in business engineering (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Nathalie Crutzen, Laurent Weerts

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course aims at acquainting Master students with the particularities of family enterprises and with their management. These, in practice as in the literature, are recognized as making up a majority in Belgium and Europe and requiring specific management (family and professional/entrepreneurial sphere, governance, transmission, etc.). 

These particularities are dealt with and illustrated in class.

Theoretical classes are followed up by lectures given by experts on family enterprises or by family entrepreneurs. Video documents may be proposed and analysed on the basis of reference to the theoretical data. 

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

These classes enable students to get a better understanding of the realities of a family enterprise and of its specific challenges.

The ultimate goal is twofold: 1. Acquainting students with this type of enterprise, which they may be managing/taking over in the future, 2. Providing them with theoretical knowledge and concrete recommendations for the management and succession of a family business  

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

a command of the basics of management (marketing, finance, accountancy, HRM, logistics, etc.) (Master level) 

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Prepared readings, summaries and applications of articles/scientific reports per group of students 

theoretical classes 

practical situations (questions, discussions) 

several illustrations and examples 

input from enterpreneurs and experts 

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

in-person lecturing, readings and preparations 

Recommended or required readings

Before each course, scientific readings will be compulsory and will also be considered as examination material.

These readings will be further clarified on the first course. 

In addition to the required readings, the following are suggestions:  

Allouche et Amman (2000), L'entreprise familiale : un état de l'art, Revue Finance-Contrôle- Stratégie, 3 (1).

Astrachan, J. H., & McMillan, K. S. (2003). Conflict and communication in the family business. Family Enterprise Publishers: Family Business Leadership Series, 16.

Chrisman, J. Chua J. and Sharma, P. (2003), Current trends and future directions in family business management studies : toward a theory of the family firm, 2003 Coleman White Paper series.

Eddleston, K. et Kellermanns, F. (2007), Destructive and productive family relationships: A stewardship theory perspective, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 22, n°4, pp.545-565.

Pieper, T. M. (2010), Non solus: Toward a psychology of family business. Journal of Family Business Strategy 1, 26-39

Sasse, C. (2007), Les 7 règles d'or de la transmission de l'entreprise familiale, Anthémis. 159 pages.

Sharma, P., Chrisman, J.J., & Chua, J.H. (1996). A review and annotated bibliography of family business studies. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.


Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire, open-ended questions )

Additional information:


- final written exam (100%)

overall assessment criteria (communicated to the students):

  • rigour and analytical exhaustivury 
  • structure and quality of the presentations
  • relevance to the course inputs
  • concrete illustrations 
  • originality
  • compliance with the given instructions 
  • Use of readings to build answers to the questions 


Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Class attendance is compulsory


Course holders: 

- Laurent Weerts, W Conseil et HEC Liege

- Prof. Nathalie Crutzen, HEC Liege


Coordinator & speaker:

- Dr. Raphaelle Mattart, HEC Liege



Laurent Weerts : laurent.weerts@gmail.com

Raphaelle Mattart: Raphaelle.Mattart@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs