From left to right: Linda Rouleau, Audrey-Anne Cyr, Isabelle Le Breton-Miller, Danny Miller, Robert Nason and Thorsten M. Pieper

The Chair of Succession and Family Enterprise warmly congratulates Audrey-Anne Cyr who successfully defended her doctoral thesis entitled: Relational Modes of Management in Family Business: Relational Plurality, Configuration and Embedding, on February 14, 2022. The new HEC Montréal doctor of administration defended the results of three research projects whose objective is to clarify and broaden understanding of the issues surrounding the multiple forms of interpersonal relationships, their contingent role and value, and the ways in which they become embedded in family businesses.

Based on an impressive literature review of the last 20 years, consisting of 330 articles, the researcher first develops a multifaceted lens for studying the pluralistic nature of social relations in organizational contexts. Then, by adopting a configurational approach through case analysis, Audrey-Anne Cyr explores how individuals shape and manage interpersonal relationships in long-lived family businesses and provide factual evidence on the functioning of social capital in family firms. The results suggest, among other things, that these firms tend to specialize into the development of a specific pair of relational configurations over time. This thesis highlights the many relational paths to durable social and economic performance across family businesses. Finally, in the third study, she revisits the literature on family firms in the light of the findings of her thesis. The theoretical work conducted in this last chapter invites us to reconsider the basis on which family and non-family businesses are compared. It also highlights the different types of performance (i.e., economic and/or social) generated by the relational configurations observed in family firms.

The jury was composed of Linda Rouleau, committee chair and professor in the Department of Management at HEC Montréal, Isabelle Le Breton-Miller, thesis supervisor and holder of the Chair of Succession and Family Enterprise at HEC Montréal, Robert Nason, jury member and associate professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Torsten M. Pieper, external examiner and associate professor at the Belk College of Business, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Charlotte Blanche, assistant professor in the Department of Management at HEC Montréal who acted on behalf of HEC Montréal’s director.