Franz Kellermanns

How much has the study of international business changed over just the last decade?

There is no question that technology has changed our student behavior and highlighted the need to at the very least understand international business, if not get international exposure. I highlight this aspect in my classes and have my undergraduate students contact managers who have spent time internationally and ask them about their experiences. 

Franz Kellermanns is the Addison H. & Gertrude C. Reese Endowed Chair in International Business in the Belk College of Business. He joined the faculty of the Belk College in 2013 as a professor of management specializing in family-owned businesses and is a prolific editor and publisher of academic journals. He and colleagues received a 2015 Best Paper Award by the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division and the 2015AIS Best Information Systems Publications Award.

What brought you to the Belk College of Business?

The Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte has accumulated a great faculty that wants to contribute and build programs for their undergraduate and graduate students as well as for the wider Charlotte community. I wanted to be part of this dynamic group and help to further build the college’s increasing national and international reputation.

Describe your area of expertise.

My research interests include international business, strategic management and entrepreneurship with a focus on family business research. I study family firms, their dynamic and behavior worldwide. I am honored to be ranked third most productive researcher on family firms worldwide. It was also an honor to be named the most productive German-speaking business professor under 40 and 41st most productive German speaking business scholar based on overall life-time research output by the Handelsblatt (German equivalent of the Wall Street Journal).

What has your published research uncovered thus far?

I have published over 80 peer-reviewed articles in a variety of journals. Amongst others, I have published in Organization ScienceJournal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and PracticeFamily Business Review, and Academy of Management Learning and Education. I serve on the editorial boards of Journal of Business VenturingJournal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Group and Organization Management, Family Business Review, Journal of Family Business Strategy and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. An interesting recent piece of mine discusses the “Fredo-Effect” (think of Fredo Corleone from The Godfather). This effect means that in about 35% of all family firms, family members are employed - and some do more harm than good. We discuss implications and recommendation in case a Fredo is present in a family firm.

What research do you have in progress?

I am currently doing research on “family firm owner’s pride,” or what academics also refer to as socio-emotional wealth. These are non-financial benefits derived from owning the organization.

What industry experience do you have?

Growing up in a family firm that is over 100 years old, I have retail and real estate experience as well as consulting experience. In addition, I regularly advise family businesses.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels?

I like to interact with undergraduate students as they are very open to new experiences and eager to learn. I find the students at UNC Charlotte highly motivated. The graduate students (MBAs) as well as our Ph.D. students allow us as professors to have higher-level discussions as their personal background enhances the overall learning experience and discussion. Each type of teaching has its unique rewards for me. In addition, I am involved in dissertation committees not only at UNC Charlotte but across the world.

What are some opportunities you have taken to utilize your expertise in the Charlotte community?

As my name indicates, I am originally from Germany. There is a strong German community of firms in and around Charlotte. I often invite speakers from these firms to my classes. I moderated a global economic forum highlighting international business opportunities in conjunction with Staying Ahead Carolina, a networking group that explores trends in the region.

What other student programs or initiatives are you associated with at the Belk College?

In addition to contributing to new programs in the college, I have tried to establish exchange relationships with universities abroad to further our students’ international exposure.

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