KCFE Research & Publications

Research Home  |  Scholarly Articles  |  Books  |  Working Papers  |  Case Studies

At KCFE, we are committed to conducting use-inspired research positioned in what is known as Pasteur's Quadrant. The genesis of this approach lies in the acceptance that Pasteur never undertook a study that was not applied. Pasteur's Quadrant illuminates a path where applied goals are not inherently opposed with scientific creativity and rigor, a notion that certainly defines our commitment to pursuing research to better understanding the challenges facing business families.
The Kellogg Center for Family Enterprises (KCFE) approaches the study and practice of family enterprise as an emerging meta-discipline that transcends boundaries among academic disciplines, research methods, schools of thought, and global regions, with the cornerstone assumption that business is not a self-contained system, but is embedded firmly in society, polity, and culture. Based on this central assumption, we contend that family enterprise regards an array of disciplines as subsystems encapsulated within societal and familial contexts that contain values, power relations, and social networks. The societal and familial contexts both enable and constrain these disciplines.

Additionally, family enterprise assumes that interests are not necessarily or automatically complementary and harmonious, and that societal sources of order and healthy family relations are necessary for firms to function efficiently. A further assumption is that individual choices within family enterprise are shaped by values, emotions, social bonds, and moral judgments, rather than by narrow self-interest - that is, there is no a priori assumption that people act rationally or that they pursue only their own agendas.