College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

FSOS Professor Emeritus co-authors new book on family businesses

A professor.

Sharon M. Danes, professor emerita in Family Social Science, is part of the writing team of a new book on family businesses. Concise Introduction to the Family Firm offers a multifaceted approach to the study and practice of family firm ownership. It explores conceptualizations of the family firm in-depth, and provides encompassing theories to help propel the study and understanding of family-owned businesses.

 Danes co-wrote the book with Ramona Kay Zachary, a management professor at The City University of New York; and Elisa Balabram, an author and business coach based in Seattle. The book has been published by Edward Elgar Publishing, a leading social science and law book publishing company based in the United Kingdom.

The book is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary theoretical orientation to the diversity of business and family systems and the family dynamics, structures, and processes found in family businesses. The authors also discuss how informal power grounded in the family system impacts both the family and business, and address both short-term business achievements and long-term business sustainability. The book is available in the U of M Libraries (log-in may be required).

“This book is critical to the study of family business and as a resource for family business owners and consultants,” says Danes. “According to the 2019/2020 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Family Entrepreneurship Report, 75 percent of entrepreneurs and 81 percent of established business owners co-own and/or co-manage their businesses with family members. Additionally, 62 percent of established business owners state that the majority of their current employees are member of their family.”

During her over 40-year academic career, Danes’ research focused on the intersection of family and business systems that affect the viability of family businesses, as well as the intersection of social and economic decision-making in family finances. She developed many programs to support family business vitality and personal financial success as a Family Economist for Minnesota Extension.

The recipient of over one million dollars in research and educational grants, Danes also has authored over 160 refereed research articles, book chapters, and outreach publications emphasizing the intersection of economic and social decision-making. Danes received her doctorate in Family Economics & Management from Iowa State University, a master’s in Family Economics & Management from Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s in Home Economics Education & Extension from the University of Wisconsin.