Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Dr. Torsten Pieper

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Astrachan

Third Advisor

Dr. Franz Kellermanns


Multi-family businesses represent a rare phenomenon in the family business environment. With limited research to draw upon and intergroup theory suggesting multiple families that are in business together should be in constant conflict, this dissertation sets out to examine why some multi-family businesses are able to avoid or manage intergroup conflicts, and how multi-family businesses can work harmoniously. Utilizing a qualitative, grounded theory-influenced approach, the thesis develops a theoretical understanding that started with the data and then intertwined the empirically derived observations with the extant literature to formulate a model focusing on trust within and between families. The dissertation is structured as follows. First, the introduction will define multi-family businesses and explain the reason for this dissertation as well as highlighting the contributions of the dissertation. Second, a review of the literature will examine family business literature, intergroup related literature and trust literature. Third, a detailed explanation is given for the methodology that was used and also how it was used. Fourth, the results are presented by means of a model that emerged from the data with quotations from the data supporting the model presented. Fifth, a discussion is presented comparing and contrasting the results of this dissertation to extant research in the areas of family business, intergroup relations and trust. Limitations of this thesis, future research implications as well as some practical applications of this dissertation are also discussed. Lastly, a concluding section briefly recaps this dissertation and its contributions to the areas of family business, intergroup relations and trust.