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Professor Alfredo De Massis


Alfredo De Massis

The Management School



Tel: +44 1524 594057

PhD supervision

Available for supervising ambitious PhD students willing to conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research on innovation, strategy and entrepreneurship, with a focus on family business.


Professor Alfredo De Massis is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy), has been Director of the School's Centre for Family Business, and is involved in collaboration and scientific advisory activities by offering intellectual contributions within the Wild Chair in Family Business at the International Institute for Management Development. He serves as Editor of Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice and Associate Editor of Family Business Review - a highly ranked journal of Business (Impact Factor 4.147). Previously, he was at the University of Bergamo (Italy) where he co-founded the Center for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE) that he ran as Deputy Director. In September 2015, Family Capital ranked him among the world’s top 25 star professors for family business. He currently serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Research Foundation and is a Family Owned Business Institute Research Scholar. He also served as Chairman of the STEP European Leadership Council and Member of the Global Board of the Global STEP Project for Family Enterprising founded by Babson College (USA). Engaging over 200 scholars from 41 leading universities, this global applied research initiative explores the entrepreneurial processes within business families and generates solutions that have immediate application for family leaders. 

Alfredo is Chair of the Special Interest Group on Family Business Research at the European Academy of Management (EURAM) and has served as Chair or on the Advisory Committee of several academic conferences or conference tracks (e.g., he was member of the Advisory Committee of the Family Enterprise Research Conference FERC). He was TOFT Visiting Professor at Jonkoping International Business School (Sweden) and a visiting scholar at the Haskayne School of Business (Canada).

His specific research focus is on family business, and his work has been published widely in leading academic and professional journals. Alfredo has been invited to present his research and to give lectures to various audiences at many universities in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. His research is regularly presented at international conferences and workshops, such as the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, IFERA World Conference, FERC, EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management and the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference. Alfredo's work has been featured in various media outlets, including the Financial Times and Reuters, and he has contributed to the Harvard Business Review online magazine.

Alfredo has received various research grants from public funding bodies and private organizations, and is a recipient of several academic honors and awards (among the most recent, the IFERA 2014 Best Paper Award, FERC 2014 Best Paper Award, 2014 USASBE Best Paper in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy Award, the FOBI Scholarship, the 2015, 2014 and 2013 Academy of Management Best Paper Proceeding and the 2012 and 2013 “Outstanding Researcher Award” provided by the University of Bergamo to the top scholar in each department on account of remarkable research achievements at international level).

He has advised national and regional government on policy development and implementation, as well as leading major projects to support innovation and entrepreneurship at a regional and national level. He is also a frequent speaker at industry groups, business associations and think tanks around the world.

He is member of several academic and professional family business associations and prior to his academic career was Manager in SCS Consulting, senior consultant in the Strategy service line of Accenture and financial analyst at the Italian Stock Exchange (London Stock Exchange Group). In these roles, he provided strategy advice to corporate clients in a wide variety of industries, as well as innovation and succession management advice to family firms, helping them maintain competitive advantage across generations. 

Research Interests

Alfredo’s research is goal-centered and process-oriented, and consequently he tends to engage in cross-level research. While he has published work that utilizes surveys or large-scale quantitative data, much of his work is currently based on qualitative methods. His interests particularly include family-centered goal setting processes, intra-family succession, innovation and behavioral issues in family firms and enterprising families. More specifically, he is interested in understanding how the ability and willingness of the controlling family interact to produce idiosyncratic firm behavior and performance. On these topics, he has published six books and several papers in leading academic and professional journals, including papers in leading journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business VenturingEntrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Academy of Management PerspectivesCalifornia Management Review, Family Business Review, Small Business EconomicsJournal of Small Business Management, Journal of Business Ethics and Academy of Management Learning & Education. His most recent book (co-authored with Pramodita Sharma, Jess H. Chua and James J. Chrisman) entitled “Family Business Studies: An Annotated Bibliography”, was published by Edward Elgar in October 2012. 

External Roles

Alfredo has been an active member of the Academy of Management and served as Chair of several academic conferences or conference tracks (e.g., Academy of Management PDW 2012, 2013, 2014, FERC 2013, IFERA 2012, 2013, EURAM 2012, 2013, EIASM Family Business Management 2013). He is Associate Editor of Family Business Review and currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Entrepreneurship Theory and PracticeStrategic Entrepreneurship Journal, and Journal of Family Business Strategy, and acts as reviewer, member of the board of reviewers or member of the scientific board of leading academic and professional journals. He has been Editor of nine special issues on family business (the seven most recent are on Strategic Management JournalCalifornia Management Review, Entrepreneurship Theory and PracticeJournal of Product Innovation Management, Small Business Economics, Global Strategy Journal, and International Journal of Management Reviews). He has supervised PhD Students and has been external examiner in PhD Dissertation Committees (e.g., Maastricht University, Jonkoping International Business School, University of Edinburgh, Witten/Herdecke University). Alfredo is a member of the Research Advisory Board of the University of Bergamo's Center for Young & Family Enterprise (with Frank Hoy, Mattias Nordqvist and Anita Van Gils).


MSc(Hons), PhD 

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