Call for Case Studies on Trust in Family Enterprise: How to Build, Nurture and Restore it

Co-Editors: PramoDITA Sharma, Jim Davis, & Catherine Faherty



This book will feature cases that illustrate the development, growth, loss, and repair of trust in/by family enterprises. It aims to highlight the reasoning, motivation, actions, and strategies that help (or hinder) the building of trusted relationships within the owning family, between family and non-family members in a business, and with other business organizations in an industry or a region. 


We are seeking cases that reveal the underlying dynamics at individual, team, and organizational levels, and illustrate the development (or loss) of trust in varied contexts, geographical regions, industries, company sizes, and generations. Cases may focus on one or more family firms, or investment or governing entities of a family. 


Below is a list of illustrative topics of interest in this book:


  • Establishment of Trust by the Founder(s): How does a founder or founding team initially cultivate trust with key stakeholders? How does the establishment of trust (or lack thereof) with others during the inception phase influence the long-term survival and growth of a family enterprise?


  • Innovation and Trust: To what extent does trust contribute to cultivating an environment conducive to innovation and risk-taking in family enterprises? How does trust impact the capacity of successive generations to navigate evolving market dynamics and technological advancements?


  • Risk Taking in Relationships: Trust has been defined as risk taking in a relationship, a willingness to be vulnerable to another party. How do families assess risk in a relationship and the amount of risk they will take in different situations? What relationship risks do family business leaders assume more than non-family business leaders?


  • Trust Across and Within Generations: How do trust dynamics vary within family enterprises led by controlling owners, sibling partnerships, or cousin consortiums? To what extent do share experiences, values, and norms affect the formation and dissolution of trust over time?


  • Propensity to Trust Family Members: What factors shape the propensity to trust in legacy family firms, within generations, across generations, or among different family branches?


  • Trust for Non-Family Members: What enables (or hinders) a family’s ability to extend trust to non-family members? How does the inherent propensity to trust impact the motivation and commitment of nonfamily employees within a family enterprise? How is trust for family and non-family employees in the family business developed and managed? How does it affect the organization’s performance?


  • External Partnerships and Trust: What is the influence of trust on establishing and managing partnerships with external stakeholders? How does this trust influence the trajectory of growth and expansion for the business?


  • Ability, Benevolence, Integrity: If only one or two of these three critical components of trust are present, what are the implications for both close family relationships and the long-term survival of a family business?


  • Trust and SEW: How does a focus on family’s socio-emotional wealth (SEW) affect trust within the family enterprise? And, of non-family stakeholders with family enterprise and its leaders? Does optimizing SEW and satisficing financial performance affect trust?


  • Trust and Non-Family Leaders: How does a non-family CEO/leader develop and grow trust with family owners? What can be done to enhance and repair trust?


  • Trust Repair Strategies: Is it possible to rebuild lost trust within families and family enterprises? Can forgiveness be achieved, and if so, what actions and behaviors facilitate or impede this process? Is trust repaired more easily with family members than non-family members?



  • 1st May 2024  One-page case study proposal to be submitted.
  • 1st June 2024 Selected proposals invited for full case submission.
  • 1st Oct 2024  Full-case and Teaching Notes due.
  • 1st 2025 Revisions invited.
  • 1st May 2025  Final submissions due.
  • 1st June 2025  Final decisions communicated with authors.
  • 1st Oct 2025  All materials including editors’ introduction submitted to the publisher.
  • 2026  Case Book Publication.



The one-page case proposal should clearly outline the following:


Basic information: 

  • About the company Name, age, size in revenues, number of employees, industry, location of headquarters and operations, product-market scope.
  • About the family Generations involved in business management, board, ownership. Please indicate which generation cumulatively owns more than 25% of shares.

Brief description of the case:

  • The category of key questions (whether listed above or others; if so, please provide the key questions) that your case will address.
  • Data collection plans, including work completed and permission to interview/s secured.
  • Names and affiliations of each contributor. Indicate the experience each author has in working with family enterprise and/or writing of teaching cases.


Authors of selected proposals will be invited to submit a 5-20 double-spaced pages Case Study and Teaching Note. Related guidelines will be shared with invited authors.


Resources to inspire ideas:

  • Covey, S.M.R. & Merrill, R.M. (2008). The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. Free Press.
  • Davis, J.H. (2021). The Essential Role of Trust in Family Business Entrepreneurship. In M Allen and W. Gartner. Family Entrepreneurship - Insights from Leading Experts on Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurial Families. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. [Please contact [email protected] for a copy of the chapter].
  • Fulmer, A. & Gelfand, M.J. (2012). At what level (and in whom) we Trust: Trust across multiple levels of organizations. Journal of Management, 38(4): 1167-1230.
  • Mayer, R. C., Davis, J., & Schoorman, F. (1995). An integrative model of organizational trust. Academy of Management Review, 20: 709-734. Also see: Building Trust Ted Talk by Jim Davis [16:38 minutes]


All submissions or questions must be sent to PramoDITA Sharma at [email protected]