John A. Davis

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Unit: Entrepreneurial Management

Contact:

(617) 495-6167

Send Email

A faculty member at Harvard Business School since 1996, Professor Davis teaches and researches in the family business, family wealth, and life planning fields.  He is faculty chair of Families in Business: From Generation to Generation, Families in Business/China and Crossroads: Discovering the Path Ahead. Professor Davis also teaches in the Owner/President Management and Key Executive programs.

Professor Davis has taught two entrepreneurial management courses in the MBA program. Management of the Family Business explores the management, familiy, career and personal issues found in family-owned and managed companies; Building a Business in the Context of a Life addresses entrepreneurship, life planning, and life success.

Trained in business management, psychology, and economics, Professor Davis earned his Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1982. He has served on the faculty of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and has lectured on family business management at Stanford University, IMD (Switzerland), INCAE (Costa Rica), Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (Chile), and Universidad de los Andes (Chile). 

Recognized as one of the world's leading experts and advisors concerning family business and family wealth, Professor Davis consults and speaks globally on the topics of dynastic success, family and business governance, succession, developing the next generation, working with relatives, shareholder relationships, and professionalizing the family business. He is the founder and chairman of Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, an organization that advises family businesses globally.
  
Professor Davis is co-creator of the Three-Circle Model, with Professor Renato Tagiuri, which is the fundamental paradigm in the family business field. He co-authored Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work in the field. He has published on a wide range of topics pertinent to family companies. Professor Davis is completing books on managing the performance of relatives, family business governance, and successful family business dynasties. He serves on the editorial boards of Family Business Review and the Journal of Family Business Strategy. His theories and observations have been cited by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, The Economist, Fortune, Business Week, Exame, Family Business Magazine, and many other publications.

To view video clips of Professor Davis, please click on the appropriate link:

The Role of the Family Business in the World Economy

Interaction with Other Family Business Members

Financial Success

Take Away Value

Publications

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  1. On the Goals of Successful Family Companies

    John A. Davis and Renato Tagiuri

    Providing clear goals for a company and communicating them are among the most powerful means for guiding the behavior of the people in an organization. In this article, we explore the range of objectives or goals of family-owned and -managed companies and identify those most commonly regarded as important by owner-managers. Further, we describe six major empirical dimensions of goals that we derived by factor-analytic procedures. Finally, we suggest how researchers, managers, and consultants can use our work to help owner-managers clarify and communicate their goals.

    Keywords: Family Business; Interpersonal Communication; Goals and Objectives; Organizational Culture; Family Ownership;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Renato Tagiuri. "On the Goals of Successful Family Companies." Chap. 17 in Family Business. Vol. 12, edited by Joseph H. Astrachan, Torsten M. Pieper, and Peter Jaskiewicz. International Library of Critical Writings on Business and Management. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Grupo RBS (A)

    John A. Davis and Courtney Collette

    This case reviews the two-generation history of the Brazilian media company, RBS, and examines how the second generation family CEO manages through a crisis facing the company.

    Keywords: Family Business; Family Ownership; Crisis Management; Management Teams; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Brazil;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Courtney Collette. "Grupo RBS (A)." Harvard Business School Case 813-164, April 2013. View Details
  2. Getting Back to Your Roots: Rose Carpenter's Story

    John A. Davis, Janet Kraus and Lisa Strope

    Rose Carpenter is a successful entrepreneur who is considering the personal implications of leaving the business she created to pursue her own interests.

    Keywords: career planning; entrepreneurs; Life planning; Work-Life Balance; Entrepreneurship; Decisions;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Janet Kraus, and Lisa Strope. "Getting Back to Your Roots: Rose Carpenter's Story." Harvard Business School Case 813-077, September 2012. View Details
  3. The Agnellis and Fiat: Family Business Governance in a Crisis (A)

    John A. Davis, Bernardo Bertoldi and Roberto Quaglia

    After the death of Umberto Agnelli in 2004, the Agnelli family, led by John Elkann, needs to decide whether to keep Fiat CEO Giuseppe Morchio. The Fiat Group is in a delicate financial position, and John Elkann, the new family leader, is untested in this role. The stakes of this decision are high for both the family and the family business. The case describes the leadership and governance of the Fiat Group and raises questions on who should be involved in such decisions.

    Keywords: Family Business; Family Ownership; Management Teams; Leadership; Corporate Governance; Crisis Management; Auto Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Italy;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Bernardo Bertoldi, and Roberto Quaglia. "The Agnellis and Fiat: Family Business Governance in a Crisis (A)." Harvard Business School Case 812-128, March 2012. View Details
  4. Clarks at a Crossroads (A)

    John A. Davis and Suzanne Stroh

    Clarks at a Crossroads (A) describes how this venerable British shoe company falls behind its competition and into financial trouble. The case ends with a pivotal vote by shareholders on whether to sell this family company.

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Suzanne Stroh. "Clarks at a Crossroads (A)." Harvard Business School Case 812-113, March 2012. (Revised September 2014.) View Details
  5. Clarks at a Crossroads (C)

    John A. Davis and Suzanne Stroh

    Clarks (C) describes the turnaround of C&J Clarks Ltd., 1993-2002. It describes the roles of family chairman Roger Pedder, and CEO Timothy Parker, in this successful effort.

    Keywords: Apparel and Accessories Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Suzanne Stroh. "Clarks at a Crossroads (C)." Harvard Business School Supplement 812-115, March 2012. (Revised September 2014.) View Details
  6. The Wen Group

    John A. Davis and Matthew G. Pillar

    Three brothers that own and lead a second-generation family business in Hong Kong, encounter problems of nepotism and governance, and endure considerable conflict. The case asks how to resolve these family and business issues.

    Keywords: Family Business; Performance Effectiveness; Crisis Management; Business or Company Management; Conflict Management; Corporate Governance; Leadership Development; Hong Kong;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Matthew G. Pillar. "The Wen Group." Harvard Business School Case 812-034, September 2011. View Details
  7. An Entrepreneur's Journey: Simi Nwogugu

    John A. Davis and Shirley Spence

    This multimedia case follows Simi Nwogugu's life from childhood in Lagos, Nigeria to Mount Holyoke and Wall Street, back to Lagos to found a chapter of Junior Achievement, through marriage and HBS to motherhood and disenchantment with opportunities for mothers in the corporate world, to the founding and building of a business called 2Hats to address that issue. Her latest personal and business challenge, in September 2008, is an upcoming move back to Nigeria with her two young sons to accommodate her husband's career change. The case contains 32 videos with a total running time of 68 minutes and has a feature for printing screen text as desired. It is organized into seven chapters each consisting of a brief text introduction, video clips, exhibits (selectively) and discussion questions.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Work-Life Balance; Customization and Personalization; Business Ventures; Nigeria; United States;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Shirley Spence. "An Entrepreneur's Journey: Simi Nwogugu." Harvard Business School Video Case 810-701, November 2009. View Details
  8. Adult Life Stages

    John A. Davis

    This note describes basic concepts of adult life stage theory and summarizes Daniel Levinson's research findings on the adult development of men and women.

    Keywords: Transition; Motivation and Incentives; Behavior; Personal Development and Career; Organizational Culture; Gender Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Adult Life Stages." Harvard Business School Background Note 809-097, January 2009. (Revised November 2009.) View Details
  9. Wolf Elmore Brewer, Inc.

    John A. Davis

    This case describes how Alex Wolf, the founder of a small architecture and urban planning firm based in Portland, Oregon, decides to offer partnership to two trusted colleagues, and then how strains develop in their relationship. It asks what can be done to improve these work relationships and if these three individuals can be successful partners.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Interpersonal Communication; Entrepreneurship; Partners and Partnerships; Conflict Management;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Wolf Elmore Brewer, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 809-098, January 2009. View Details
  10. Negotiating Effectively in Family Business Systems

    Deepak Malhotra and John A. Davis

    Explores how families in business can apply five principles of negotiation that are used effectively by non-family members. The distinctive characteristics of family relationships and of family business systems--which affect the use of these principles--are described.

    Keywords: Family Business; Negotiation; Family Ownership;

    Citation:

    Malhotra, Deepak, and John A. Davis. "Negotiating Effectively in Family Business Systems." Harvard Business School Module Note 807-144, March 2007. (Revised October 2007.) View Details
  11. Compensating Family Employees in a Family Business

    John A. Davis

    Explores the core issues involved in compensating family employees in a family business. Explains family interests and other factors that shape family employee compensation practices. Distinguishes between achieving effective compensation practices, which help to achieve the business's key success factors and other important interests, and strictly adhering to "professional" compensation principles, which are useful standards to try to follow but they may not meet important personal and family interests or be politically feasible. Concludes with several recommendations to guide family employee compensation practices.

    Keywords: Family Business; Employees; Compensation and Benefits;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Compensating Family Employees in a Family Business." Harvard Business School Background Note 808-021, July 2007. (Revised September 2007.) View Details
  12. Kohl Industries

    John A. Davis

    Describes a compensation dilemma with a father and his three children, who work in different businesses under the family holding companies. The father, James Cole, must set compensation that meets the needs of the family and the business.

    Keywords: Business Subsidiaries; Family Business; Compensation and Benefits; Family and Family Relationships;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Kohl Industries." Harvard Business School Case 808-078, September 2007. View Details
  13. Bentington Industries

    David Ager and John A. Davis

    Describes the situation facing Paul Bentington, the president, CEO, and member of the owning family of BIND, PLC, a large and successful family-owned engineering consulting firm in London. Bentington's sister and brother, both of whom are owners of the firm, confront him regarding family participation both in the governance and management of the firm. Third- and fourth-generation members of the family represent a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, which Bentington's siblings believe would benefit the firm. Yet Bentington has misgivings about whether it is appropriate for his siblings, their spouses, and their children to serve in any leadership role at the family company.

    Keywords: Business or Company Management; Leadership; Family Business; Management Succession; Conflict and Resolution; Diversity Characteristics; London;

    Citation:

    Ager, David, and John A. Davis. "Bentington Industries." Harvard Business School Case 806-115, January 2006. (Revised September 2007.) View Details
  14. Mitchell Family and Mitchells/Richards, The

    Amy C. Edmondson, John A. Davis, Corey B. Hajim and Kelly Mulderry

    Describes a small, luxury retail chain's operational sophistication achieved through the use of technology and "high-touch" customer service. A family-run business, Mitchells has built its success with a customer service strategy known internally as "hugging." The term is deceptively simple. The firm's true success lies in its blend of a warm, other-oriented corporate culture, sophisticated information technology, and an effective family business structure. It is currently considering further expansion for future generations. A rewritten version of an earlier case.

    Keywords: Family Business; Customer Relationship Management; Knowledge Management; Service Delivery; Organizational Culture; Expansion; Information Technology; Retail Industry;

    Citation:

    Edmondson, Amy C., John A. Davis, Corey B. Hajim, and Kelly Mulderry. "Mitchell Family and Mitchells/Richards, The." Harvard Business School Case 605-047, November 2004. (Revised September 2007.) View Details
  15. Values Concerning Inheritance Worksheet

    John A. Davis

    Outlines several questions that address core issues in planning for inheritance. Appropriate for all families, no matter what assets they have to pass to heirs.

    Keywords: Assets; Management Succession; Family Business; Family and Family Relationships; Planning; Value;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Values Concerning Inheritance Worksheet." Harvard Business School Exercise 808-071, September 2007. View Details
  16. Assessing and Enhancing Individual Power in the Family Business System

    John A. Davis

    Describes how to asses and enhance an individual's bases, sources, and levels of power in a family business system. Relies on Franch and Raven's framework that identifies five bases of social power (reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert), describing how these bases change depending on the circumstances of a relationship. Also describes how an individual's roles, resources, and relationships in and out of a family business system provide the sources of these bases of power. Discusses the connection between power and dependency in a relationship. Finally, discusses how to enhance individual power in a relationship.

    Keywords: Family Business; Family and Family Relationships; Situation or Environment; Power and Influence;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Assessing and Enhancing Individual Power in the Family Business System." Harvard Business School Background Note 808-026, August 2007. View Details
  17. Governance of the Business Family

    John A. Davis

    Explains the purposes, processes, standards, plans, and agreements that together help to govern (or steer) a family that owns a family business.

    Keywords: Family Business; Corporate Governance; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Family Ownership;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Governance of the Business Family." Harvard Business School Background Note 807-020, August 2006. (Revised July 2007.) View Details
  18. Fundamentals of Family Business System Governance

    John A. Davis

    Reviews the purposes and ingredients in the governance (or steering) of a family business system. Explores at a high level the governance of the family business, its owners, and the family. Focuses on how these governance structures, processes, plans, and agreements interact.

    Keywords: Family Business; Corporate Governance; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Family Ownership;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Fundamentals of Family Business System Governance." Harvard Business School Background Note 807-019, August 2006. (Revised July 2007.) View Details
  19. Governance of the Family Business

    John A. Davis

    Reviews the ways to achieve governance of the family business. Points out the importance of plans (e.g., strategic plans), statements (e.g., mission statements), policies, rules, and agreements to the governance process. Discusses the roles of three structures in family business governance: the top management team, the family employee council, and the board of directors.

    Keywords: Family Business; Corporate Governance; Governing and Advisory Boards; Management Teams; Mission and Purpose;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Governance of the Family Business." Harvard Business School Background Note 807-022, August 2006. (Revised July 2007.) View Details
  20. Governance of the Family Business Owners

    John A. Davis

    Reviews the principal ways in which the owners of a family business achieve their governance objectives of a suitable identity and sensible direction and the discipline to achieve these. Covers the responsibilities and rights of owners, plus governance procedures, plans, policies, statements, rules, agreements, and structure.

    Keywords: Family Business; Corporate Governance; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Goals and Objectives; Family Ownership;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Governance of the Family Business Owners." Harvard Business School Background Note 807-021, August 2006. (Revised July 2007.) View Details
  21. George Barker

    John A. Davis

    George Barker, the 40-year-old CEO of his family's commercial real estate design and development firm, must deal with the unsatisfactory performance of his brother Peter, who is also in the business. Although Peter's performance is upsetting to George, George feels that it will be difficult to navigate the family ownership and other business factors to deal with the problem.

    Keywords: Family Business; Leadership Style; Business or Company Management; Performance Evaluation; Problems and Challenges; Family and Family Relationships; Real Estate Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "George Barker." Harvard Business School Case 804-094, February 2004. (Revised May 2007.) View Details
  22. Negotiating Your Entry into Your Family Business

    John A. Davis

    Provides guidance to junior generation members of a business family concerning negotiating their entry into their family's business.

    Keywords: Family Business;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Negotiating Your Entry into Your Family Business." Harvard Business School Background Note 806-062, October 2005. (Revised February 2007.) View Details
  23. Family Business System Action Planning Worksheet

    John A. Davis

    Assist in thinking critically about facilitators and inhibitors to goals and preparing for change in a family business system.

    Keywords: Family Business; Change Management; Goals and Objectives; Organizational Change and Adaptation;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Family Business System Action Planning Worksheet." Harvard Business School Exercise 806-012, July 2005. (Revised February 2007.) View Details
  24. Principles of Family Business System Change

    John A. Davis

    Identifies several practical principles to keep in mind when changing a family business system.

    Keywords: Family Business; Change Management; Organizational Change and Adaptation;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Principles of Family Business System Change." Harvard Business School Background Note 806-011, July 2005. (Revised February 2007.) View Details
  25. Atherton Clothing Company (A)

    John A. Davis and Andrew Z. Tubman

    Zachary Cohen, who will graduate soon from business school, wants to enter his family's business under certain conditions--he wants shares in the company and wants to change a buy-sell agreement. His father and his uncle seem to want to explore his entering the family business, but do not respond to his proposal.

    Keywords: Family Ownership; Family Business; Management Teams; Contracts; Apparel and Accessories Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Andrew Z. Tubman. "Atherton Clothing Company (A)." Harvard Business School Case 801-101, September 2000. (Revised October 2006.) View Details
  26. Precista Tools AG (TN) (A), (B), and (C)

    John A. Davis and Courtney Sampson

    Teaching Note to (488-046), (488-047), and (488-048).

    Keywords: Governing and Advisory Boards; Race Characteristics; Management Succession; Family Ownership; Resignation and Termination; Conflict and Resolution; Switzerland;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Courtney Sampson. "Precista Tools AG (TN) (A), (B), and (C)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 807-055, October 2006. View Details
  27. Matthew B. Hunter

    John A. Davis and Deepak Malhotra

    Matthew Hunter, CEO of a second-generation family business, must manage the performance of a key manager in his company. Looks at the impact of family relationships on performance management.

    Keywords: Family Business; Performance Evaluation; Crisis Management; Business or Company Management; Conflict Management; Corporate Governance; Family and Family Relationships; Partners and Partnerships; Negotiation Process;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Deepak Malhotra. "Matthew B. Hunter." Harvard Business School Case 806-204, June 2006. View Details
  28. Matthew A. Hunter

    John A. Davis and Deepak Malhotra

    Matthew Hunter, CEO of a second-generation family business, must manage the performance of a key manager in his company. Looks at the impact of family relationships on performance management.

    Keywords: Family and Family Relationships; Conflict Management; Negotiation; Family Business; Performance; Managerial Roles;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Deepak Malhotra. "Matthew A. Hunter." Harvard Business School Exercise 806-203, June 2006. View Details
  29. Reminders for Owner-Managers Regarding the Board of Directors of Private Companies

    John A. Davis

    Presents a consolidated list of corporate governance best practices for owner-managers of private companies, including family businesses.

    Keywords: Governing and Advisory Boards; Family Business;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Reminders for Owner-Managers Regarding the Board of Directors of Private Companies." Harvard Business School Background Note 805-154, June 2005. (Revised May 2006.) View Details
  30. Jonathan Pellegrin: Closing The Pellegrins Case, Video

    John A. Davis and Courtney Sampson

    Jonathan Pellegrin describes what happened after the events described in The Pellegrins (A) case and comments on lessons learned from this experience.

    Keywords: Management Succession; Family Business; Leadership;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Courtney Sampson. "Jonathan Pellegrin: Closing The Pellegrins Case, Video." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 806-721, February 2006. View Details
  31. Family Governance at the Cousin Consortium Stage: The Port Blakely Companies and the Eddy Family--Supplement

    John A. Davis and Courtney Sampson

    Supplements to 9-805-160 and 9-805-161.

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Courtney Sampson. "Family Governance at the Cousin Consortium Stage: The Port Blakely Companies and the Eddy Family--Supplement." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 806-076, October 2005. View Details
  32. Family Governance at the Cousin Consortium Stage

    John A. Davis and Courtney Sampson

    Explains the governance system for the Eddy family, who own the Port Blakely Companies. Provides the viewer with an inside look at the running of the family council and family assembly meetings. Also provides a brief history and overview of the forestry and real estate development businesses.

    Keywords: Conferences; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Corporate Governance; Business History; Business or Company Management; Family Ownership;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Courtney Sampson. "Family Governance at the Cousin Consortium Stage." Harvard Business School Video Case 805-160, July 2005. View Details
  33. Stevenson Industries (A)

    John A. Davis and Kacie LaChapelle

    Simon Carlson, chairman of the board of his family's fourth-generation industrial company, must decide how to deal with his conflict with the company's nonfamily CEO. Hired by the board just 15 months earlier to pursue growth more aggressively, CEO Paul Steel has upset Carlson and several managers with his management approach with the very strained relationship between the chairman and CEO. The board must decide how it will deal with Steel and Carlson.

    Keywords: Family Business; Management Succession; Management Style; Governing and Advisory Boards; Management Teams; Rank and Position; Organizational Culture; Decision Making; Manufacturing Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Kacie LaChapelle. "Stevenson Industries (A)." Harvard Business School Case 802-086, September 2001. (Revised June 2005.) View Details
  34. Hancock Land Company and Hancock Lumber Company (A)

    John A. Davis, Dwight B. Crane and Kelly M. Mulderry

    After inheriting the leadership of their family's land and lumber companies, Matt and Kevin Hancock struggled with how to revise their internally focused governance system.

    Keywords: Family Business; Governance; Leadership Style; Growth Management; Organizational Change and Adaptation;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Dwight B. Crane, and Kelly M. Mulderry. "Hancock Land Company and Hancock Lumber Company (A)." Harvard Business School Case 805-056, September 2004. (Revised June 2005.) View Details
  35. Hancock Land Company and Hancock Lumber Company (C)

    John A. Davis, Dwight B. Crane and Kelly M. Mulderry

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: Forest Products Industry; Real Estate Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Dwight B. Crane, and Kelly M. Mulderry. "Hancock Land Company and Hancock Lumber Company (C)." Harvard Business School Supplement 805-097, January 2005. (Revised June 2005.) View Details
  36. Anderson Steel Service, Inc.

    John A. Davis

    Explores the management of family and business issues and helps to identify a range of topics with which families in business wrestle. Describes a dilemma faced by sixty-eight-year-old Charles Anderson, the semi-retired founder of the company and the father of three sons who work with him. Charles's youngest son, Peter, who recently joined the company, is proposing that the company do long-term planning and is suggesting ideas that he believes will improve the company's customer service. His brothers have routinely turned down Peter's proposals, and tension among the three brothers is growing. Charles wants to resolve the growing tension among his sons.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Family Business; Problems and Challenges; Business or Company Management; Family and Family Relationships; Strategy; Steel Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Anderson Steel Service, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 899-011, July 1998. (Revised May 2005.) View Details
  37. Family Business Ownership Goals Worksheet

    John A. Davis

    Family members who either own a business or who could inherit ownership in a business are helped to clarify how they would like to have the business owned in the future.

    Keywords: Family Business; Family Ownership; Decision Making;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Family Business Ownership Goals Worksheet." Harvard Business School Exercise 804-145, February 2004. (Revised April 2004.) View Details
  38. The Pellegrins (A)

    John A. Davis

    A father and son working together in their family-owned publishing company are at a decision point because the son feels he is ready to become president at the age of 31.

    Keywords: Decisions; Management Succession; Family and Family Relationships; Family Ownership; Publishing Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "The Pellegrins (A) ." Harvard Business School Case 899-009, July 1998. (Revised February 2004.) View Details
  39. Raiser Organization, The

    John A. Davis and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld

    Jennifer and Philip Raiser, a sibling partnership who inherited a real estate management and ownership company from their father, ponder the strategic and financial challenges facing their family business. Reviews the history of the business and asks what the best strategic direction is for the business. Considers implications for the business and family and what role tradition should play.

    Keywords: Business History; Family Business; Growth and Development Strategy; Real Estate Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld. "Raiser Organization, The." Harvard Business School Case 804-028, September 2003. (Revised November 2003.) View Details
  40. Blethen Family and the Seattle Times Company (A), The

    John A. Davis and Cathy Quinn

    Frank Blethen, the fourth-generation publisher of The Seattle Times, ponders the challenges facing this family business. This case reviews the long history of this business and family and asks whether family ownership and management are in the interests of both the company and family.

    Keywords: History; Management; Business or Company Management; Family Business; Family and Family Relationships; Family Ownership; Problems and Challenges; Journalism and News Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Cathy Quinn. "Blethen Family and the Seattle Times Company (A), The." Harvard Business School Case 802-096, October 2001. (Revised November 2001.) View Details
  41. Corbin-Pacific

    John A. Davis and Christina L. Darwall

    Reviews the history of Mike Corbin's entrepreneurial career and describes in detail the successful organization he has created. Explores his management philosophy and leadership. Explores the usefulness of continuing family involvement in this business.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Leadership Style; Business or Company Management; Management Practices and Processes; Management Teams; Success; Family Ownership; Business Strategy; Manufacturing Industry; Motorcycle Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Christina L. Darwall. "Corbin-Pacific." Harvard Business School Case 800-022, July 1999. (Revised October 2001.) View Details
  42. Definitions and Typologies of the Family Business

    John A. Davis

    Introduces students to the wide variety of family business definitions in literature today. Also reviews prominent typologies of family business systems.

    Keywords: Family Business; Body of Literature; System;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Definitions and Typologies of the Family Business." Harvard Business School Background Note 802-007, July 2001. (Revised September 2001.) View Details
  43. J. Perez Foods (A)

    John A. Davis and Kacie LaChapelle

    Examines the tensions that occur in family shareholder groups and how to prepare for them and manage them.

    Keywords: Family Business; Entrepreneurship; Business or Company Management; Management Practices and Processes; Family Ownership; Problems and Challenges; Business and Shareholder Relations; Family and Family Relationships; Strategy; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Kacie LaChapelle. "J. Perez Foods (A)." Harvard Business School Case 801-147, November 2000. (Revised September 2014.) View Details
  44. Organization Design of Owner-Managed Companies, The

    John A. Davis

    Provides a concise overview of the key considerations and components of an organization's design. Examines how an organization's design must fit with both owners' goals and the organization's key success factors. Identifies several key aspects of an organization's design.

    Keywords: Organizational Design;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Organization Design of Owner-Managed Companies, The." Harvard Business School Background Note 800-024, July 1999. (Revised February 2001.) View Details
  45. Responsibilities & Rights of Family Shareholders of a Family Business

    John A. Davis

    Describes the major responsibilities and rights of family shareholders of a family owned business.

    Keywords: Family Business; Rights; Business and Shareholder Relations;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Responsibilities & Rights of Family Shareholders of a Family Business." Harvard Business School Background Note 801-264, January 2001. View Details
  46. Spec's Music (A)

    John A. Davis and Susan Harmeling

    Presents the story of a music retailer in Miami which started in the late 1940s, grew throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and went public in 1985 before experiencing a deep industry crisis in the mid-1990s. At issue in 1996 is whether the company should attempt to sell again after an aborted sale attempt two years earlier. Should the owners try again to sell before the industry economics become so unattractive as to make a future sale impossible? Or should they hold out, try to improve performance, and then try to sell in a couple more years? This question is asked against the backdrop of a strong history as a family-owned company. Martin Spector, the company's founder, has turned the company over to his daughters, Ann (CEO) and Roz (COO), who still defer to him on major decisions. In the context of the important decision of whether to sell the company, the family dynamics take center stage.

    Keywords: History; Family Business; Business Exit or Shutdown; Decision Choices and Conditions; Management Succession; Entrepreneurship; Crisis Management; Performance Improvement; Music Industry; Miami;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Susan Harmeling. "Spec's Music (A)." Harvard Business School Case 800-336, March 2000. (Revised May 2000.) View Details
  47. U.S. Gas Transportation, Inc.

    John A. Davis, Myra M. Hart and Sharon Peyus

    Presents a career dilemma for a husband/wife owner-manager team. Nanci and Len Mackenzie have received an offer for their highly successful entrepreneurial business, U.S. Gas Transportation, Inc. The Mackenzies are concerned about what the sale might do to their company's culture, the careers of their loyal employees, and their own lifestyle.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Family Ownership; Family Business; Personal Development and Career; Organizational Culture; Employees; Business Exit or Shutdown; Planning; Transportation Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Myra M. Hart, and Sharon Peyus. "U.S. Gas Transportation, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 800-049, March 2000. (Revised May 2000.) View Details
  48. Spec's Music (B)

    John A. Davis and Susan Harmeling

    Explores the reasoning behind the final decision to sell and the decision-making process that leads to the final question of "if so, to whom?" Four of the bidders are music retailers and the fifth is a Tampa entrepreneur.

    Keywords: Decision Making; Decision Choices and Conditions; Entrepreneurship; Bids and Bidding;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., and Susan Harmeling. "Spec's Music (B)." Harvard Business School Case 800-337, March 2000. View Details
  49. Corbin Motors

    John A. Davis

    Explores the raising of capital to finance the growth of a spinoff business from Corbin-Pacific, a leader in motorcycle accessories. Also explores whether the culture of Corbin-Pacific can be infused in this new but very different kind of business. Finally, it asks the question of the appropriateness of continuing family control of this company.

    Keywords: Family Business; Capital; Governance Controls; Organizational Culture; Problems and Challenges;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Corbin Motors." Harvard Business School Case 800-023, July 1999. View Details
  50. Management Development Plan In A Family Business, The

    John A. Davis

    Defines management development objectives for family members employed in their family business. Outlines a process of putting these individuals on a career path to provide them with needed developmental experiences while respecting the broader needs of the organization.

    Keywords: Family Business; Goals and Objectives; Management Practices and Processes; Organizations; Leadership Development; Experience and Expertise;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A. "Management Development Plan In A Family Business, The." Harvard Business School Background Note 800-009, July 1999. View Details
  51. Spyder Active Sports, Inc. and CHB Capital Partners (A)

    John A. Davis, Louis B. Barnes and Peter K. Botticelli

    After establishing a small but profitable skiwear business, an entrepreneur decides to sell a minority stake in the firm to outside investors. His goal is to acquire the capital needed to grow the business, even though this will entail a substantial transformation of the firm's management and financial structure. This case examines the resulting private equity transaction from both the company's point of view and that of outside investment.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Private Equity; Family Business; Business Growth and Maturation; Entrepreneurship; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Louis B. Barnes, and Peter K. Botticelli. "Spyder Active Sports, Inc. and CHB Capital Partners (A)." Harvard Business School Case 899-084, September 1998. (Revised July 1999.) View Details
  52. Spyder Active Sports, Inc. and CHB Capital Partners (B)

    John A. Davis, Louis B. Barnes and Peter K. Botticelli

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Private Equity; Family Business; Business Growth and Maturation; Entrepreneurship; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Sports Industry;

    Citation:

    Davis, John A., Louis B. Barnes, and Peter K. Botticelli. "Spyder Active Sports, Inc. and CHB Capital Partners (B)." Harvard Business School Case 899-111, November 1998. (Revised July 1999.) View Details
  53. Washington Post Company,The: Conversation Between Katharine and Don Graham (Video)

    Louis B. Barnes and John A. Davis

    Presents a conversation between a mother and son about such issues as family business, going public, the son coming into the business, and succession.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Family Business; Interpersonal Communication; Management Succession; Going Public; Family and Family Relationships;

    Citation:

    Barnes, Louis B., and John A. Davis. "Washington Post Company,The: Conversation Between Katharine and Don Graham (Video)." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 498-502, November 1997. View Details

Presentations

  1. Challenges Facing Family Companies in the Gulf Region

    J. A. Davis, E. Pitts and K. Cormier

    Keywords: Family Business; Local Range; Problems and Challenges; Mexico, Gulf of;

    Citation:

    Davis, J. A., E. Pitts, and K. Cormier. "Challenges Facing Family Companies in the Gulf Region." In Challenges Facing Family Companies. Paper presented at the Conference on Middle East Economic Development and the Role of the Private Sector, Doha, Qatar, October 19–20, 1997. View Details

Other Publications and Materials

    Research Summary

  1. Family Business Management

    by John A. Davis

    John Davis is developing cases and other course materials on family business management for the Executive Education program Families in Business: From Generation to Generation, Families in Business/China, the Owner/President Management program as well as for other courses. These cases and conceptual notes focus on the management, ownership and family relationship issues faced by individuals in management, ownership and family roles in these companies. He is preparing a book on managing the family business and a second book on managing the performance of family members in family firms.
  2. Family Business Dynastic Success

    by John A. Davis

    Davis is also completing a several year study of successful family business dynasties, examining the management, ownership and family practices that help to perpetuate successful businesses and families. He is developing a book for Harvard University Press on this topic.
  3. Family Business Governance

    by John A. Davis

    Davis's other current work explores family, business, and ownership governance in the family business system. A book on this topic is in process. Included in this body of work is a large-scale survey project on corporate governance of Brazilian family companies and case studies of family business governance.
  4. Globalization and the Family Business

    by John A. Davis

    As business becomes more global and competitive, many family companies are extending their operations through various means to remain competitive in their industries. Professor Davis is teaming with Professor Jon Martinez of Universidad de los Andes and Florence Tsai of Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise to study how family businesses are adjusting to these competitive pressures and the impact this process is having on business-owning families, and how these families are adjusting to these realities. They have surveyed over 5,000 companies in twelve countries and are producing several case studies, a book, and articles on this important topic.
  5. Life Planning for Executives

    by John A. Davis

    In this relatively new field of research and course development, Davis is researching through in depth interviews how executives create successful and fulfilling lives. He is leading a faculty team in designing an executive program for individuals wanting to transition to a new, fulfilling path in life.