Fall 2008 - The Center for Entrepreneurship inaugural Entrepreneurship Research Colloquium with Dr. Michael Lubatkin, Friday, October 31.
Dr. Michael Lubatkin, professor at the University of Connecticut School of Business, has established himself as much more than a premier educator. His poignant studies on management issues have positioned him as one of the leading Strategic Management researchers in the nation. Lubatkin has dedicated much of his recent life's work and studies to the exploration of entrepreneurial issues as they relate to privately-held and family-owned business.
Lubatkin and his colleagues - Jack Viega, Zeki Simsek, and Yan Ling- have begged to question why some privately-owned businesses are more entrepreneurial than others, approaching the issue from multiple research angles. By applying and refining existing theoretical understandings to the question, and examining a large sample of privately-owned firms, he and his colleagues have found that entrepreneurial firms - those that regularly engage in innovation, venturing, and renewal can be distinguished from their less entrepreneurial counterparts by at least four attributes:
First, entrepreneurial firms are distinguished by their CEO's leadership style. Transformational CEOs CEOs that place an emphasis on growth, innovation, employee motivation, and adaptation have a profound impact on a firm's entrepreneurial norms, values, and initiatives.
Second, Lubatkin and his colleagues have found that entrepreneurial firms are distinguished by their top management team's processes. Collaborative effort at the top levels allows these firms to exploit existing competencies and explore new opportunities.
Third, they found that entrepreneurial firms are distinguished by their information systems; specifically, by the frequency that these firms use information systems in making strategic decisions; by the type of marketplace information that the firm's information system gather; and by the extent to which organizational members recognize, value, and understand that important of contributing to new marketplace information.
Finally, Lubatkin found entrepreneurial firms can be differentiated by their levels of slack resources those uncommitted resources available for discretionary use. These firms are typically involved in pursuits that require substantial resources and have long-term consequences. The discretionary resources provide a buffer against the risks and associated with these difficult pursuits. In contract, firms with low levels of discretionary slack resources often have little choice other than to focus on activities that minimize loss.
Dr. Lubatkin has also tackled the issues relating to managing and administering family-owned and operated firms. He has challenged the common economic theory that predicts that family firms operate under an efficient form of control, by questioning the impact household familiarity and altruism has on the firm's success. Dr. Lubatkin empirically found that many family firms underperform and often fail because the of their two distinguishing attributes- altruism and familiarity- that separate them from privately held firms. The professor found that household altruism can promote a family bond, which, in turn, helps to promote inner-personal communication within the firm. However, the household can also adversely affect the owner's ability to reprimand his/her related employees, and their ability to withhold special privileges to family members.
Within recent years, Dr. Lubatkin has had his extensive research published in academic journals ranging from The Academy Management Journal to Organization Science and the Harvard Business Review. His recent scholastic articles include: The Effects of Parental Altruism on the Governance of Family-Managed Firms, Modeling the Multilevel Determinants of Top Management Team Behavioral Integration, and A Framework for Comparing Entrepreneurship Processes Across Nations.
Graduating in 1972 with a M.S. degree in elementary education, Dr. Lubatkin began his remarkable career in Newton, Massachusetts as an elementary school teacher. Ten years later, the professor was led down a different path, earning his D.B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee and pursuing a profession in higher education. In his undergraduate and graduate classrooms, Lubatkin developed a teaching style similar to the one he used as an elementary education teacher. He began to challenge his students with real-life problems, and expected concrete solutions. Dr. Lubatkin came to believe that the more his students attempt on their own to apply theory to real-world problems, the more they would gain from the courses.
The business professor joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Business in 1983, and has garnered much attention since. In 2000, he was appointed to the Thomas J. and Bette Wolff Family Chair in Strategic Management, allowing for continued investigation into the field of entrepreneurship. That same year, Lubatkin was inducted into the Academy of Management Hall of Fame- an elite group of less than 40 top Management professors from around the world. Because of his sixteen year research and teaching association with a prestigious Grande Ecole in Lyon, France, Lubatkin was named the most prolific Management scholar in France by independent researchers in 2003. In addition, Dr. Lubatkin has traveled the world as a leading seminar speaker, reaching schools in countries including Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Israel, England, and Moracco.
He takes immense pride in the education he provides his students across the globe. "To me, the aspect of my career that I get the most satisfaction from is mentoring the next generation of management scholars," said Lubatkin. "My feeling is that a published paper- while it brings prestige to my career and the standing of the School of Business -has a very short shelf-life. I want my legacy to be a number of successful practitioner and scholars careers that, in someway, I helped to start."
For more information about the University of Connecticut School of Business and Dr. Michael Lubatkin, please visit www.business.uconn.edu.