University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

UVM Family Business Scholar Recognized

Francesco Barber, Rocki-Lee DeWitt, Isabell Stamm

The University of Vermont’s work and collaboration in the field of family business continues to gain national and international recognition. At the recent Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) held in Portland, Oregon, UVM Business School Professor Rocki-Lee DeWitt, was the third co-author of research that won a “Best Paper” award.   

Professor DeWitt collaborated with two scholars and co-authors, Francesco Barbera and Isabell Stamm, and their paper entitled “The Untimely Death of a Founder: A Case Study of Intergenerational Innovation," answered the research question “Does the untimely passing of the business’ founder disrupt intergenerational innovation?” The paper examined how storytelling is a mechanism that supports intergenerational innovation, and facilitates it to be passed across generations in a family business. 

The research was based upon a case study of a Texas sausage-making business: Kiolbassa Provision Company.  The case study was completed by Francesco and Isabell under the auspices of their Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurial Practices affiliation at Stetson University. 

Commenting on the award, Professor DeWitt said "collaborative research and relationships leverage our unique skills, perspective and experience allowing us to be innovative as scholars, just as the family businesses we study are innovative."

In addition, their broader research program on intergenerational innovation was selected for the Family Owned Business Institute (FOBI) Research Scholars award.