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BYU professor awarded national grant to study family businesses

Brigham Young University entrepreneurship professor W. Gibb Dyer received a $5,000 grant from the Family Owned Business Institute to study how owning a business affects family relationships.

“This is a very exciting research study to be involved in,” Dyer says. “I believe it’s going to have a significant impact in the field of family science.”

Beginning May 1, 2008, Dyer and his son Justin are serving one-year FOBI Research Scholar appointments.

Justin Dyer, who is completing his Ph.D. in family science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discovered a unique dataset collected by the University of Michigan about husbands and wives who go into business together.

Gibb Dyer, who also serves as academic director for the BYU Economic Self-Reliance Center at the Marriott School of Management, recognized that the data presented a rare opportunity to find correlations between business success or failure and the health of family relationships. The study also received a $5,000 grant from the Marriott School.

To analyze the data, the Dyers will work with research assistant Richard Gardner, a second-year BYU master of public administration student from Manhattan, Kan. The team will look for trends over time in couples and families who start their own businesses. Business success will be measured in terms of profits and family success will be measured through the accomplishment of goals and how effectively family members communicate.

“The 2008 FOBI Scholars exemplify the quality and leadership that will further the reputation and impact of family business research within both the academic and practitioner arenas,” says Tom Schwartz, director of FOBI.

Supported by the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., FOBI awarded six research scholarships totaling $30,000 this year. FOBI created the Research Scholars Program to encourage faculty to conduct new, high-quality research with an emphasis on family business dimensions.

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Writer: Arie Decker


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