Prof Elmarie Venter and Prof Shelley Farrington of the Department of Business Management and members of the Nelson Mandela University FBU presented joint research papers at the recent SAIMS and IBC conferences, respectively.

After being postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 32nd edition of The Southern Africa Institute for Management Scientists (SAIMS) conference was held online for the first time in 2021. This year’s edition of the conference was hosted by North-West University from 13-14 September 2021. The theme of the conference was ‘Re-Imagining Management Research: Past insights for Future Foresights’.

Prof venter presented their research paper at the SAIMS conference, which was titled ‘Entrepreneurial orientation as a source of heterogeneity in African family businesses’. The paper was motivated by the dearth of empirical research on understanding entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in African family businesses, and because these businesses can leverage entrepreneurship to respond to and take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace, reduce unemployment, and deal with a global crisis. The results of the study, conducted amongst 122 family businesses from 9 African countries, revealed that African family businesses demonstrate strong Innovativeness, Proactiveness and Autonomy, while the dimensions of Risk-taking and Competitive aggressiveness were much weaker. Significant differences in the average score of the EO dimensions according to country were obtained for the Overall EO, Innovativeness, Proactiveness and Competitive aggressiveness, illustrating heterogeneity amongst African family businesses.


In a similar fashion to the SAIMS conference, the 2020 edition of the International Business Conference (IBC) was also postponed. The 14th IBC returned this year as a virtual conference for the first time and was held from 20-21 September 2021.

Their IBC paper was titled ‘Governance and success: The case of two multigenerational South African family businesses’ and was presented by Prof Farrington. The aim of the paper was to explore the relationship between governance and family business success in a developing country context using a qualitative approach. Their findings confirmed that despite many family businesses not having formal governance structures in place, both formal family and business governance structures are necessary if a family business is going to survive and prosper over the long term. Several recommendations were also made on how such structures could be implemented. Their paper was nominated for the best paper award.

Contact information
Prof Shelley Farrington
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 041 504 2203

Prof Elmarie Venter
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 041 504 2204