Case Studies of Three Successful Family-Owned Higher Educational Institutions
Family businesses are vital for the economic growth in many countries. They perform an essential role as providers of innovation, opportunities and act as key players for local and national development. Thus, this study critically examined and had taken a more analytical and definitive look at the attributes and practices of private non-sectarian, family-owned higher educational institutions within the country, which contributed to their success and sustainability which lead to the development of a model that integrates the attributes and practices – identified by the researcher through the responses of research participants – into a logical whole considering the significance of these higher institutions of learning to the lives of most Filipinos, their communities, and to the country. The main objective of this study is to establish a framework that can be used later in empirical research. This research was confined to private, non-sectarian, family-owned higher institutions of learning that have been operating for more than fifty years, have increasing enrollment, level III accreditation status, good performance in the Board exams, high employability of graduates, and had at least two transitions in terms of generation. To give an in – depth and systematic understanding of attributes and practices that led to the success of each family – owned HEI and comparing these attributes and practices among the HEIs, this study utilized a qualitative, exploratory research design on the attributes and practices of a successful family – owned HEIs with the goal of developing a theoretical model for understanding the dynamics behind its sustainability adopting the theoretical orientation in which theory becomes the endpoint of a study. Given the intent of the investigative process, the researcher adopted case studies as the primary inquiry method to illuminate a decision or set of decisions why they were taken, how they were implemented and with what result. Moreover, the study adopted a multi – site case study research since it involved the analysis of several sites using within-case and cross – case comparisons to analyze data. Findings revealed a total of 38 constructs from where the nine themes were derived. The first two constructs identified in this study are Dedication and Effective Working Relationship. The dedication exhibited by employees, not only of the top and middle management leaders but also of the faculty and staff across departments, results to effective working relationship. The way that they accomplish their job influences the academic atmosphere they are in. Another salient construct disclosed in this study is familinies. The important ‘role of familial relationships’ influences corporate culture and values of family-owned higher education institutions as reflected in this study. Participative culture is another construct that influences the success of family- owned HEI. The way that the administrators specifically the top leaders involved the stakeholders in the decision-making process is a big contributory factor in the progress of their institution. The constructs: positivity, solidarity, and harmony, were also disclosed in the study. Statements from the respondents revealed the experience of a positive culture which builds a united and harmonious relationship among the employees and with the top management. At the same time, solidarity and harmony also contribute positively to the work atmosphere and motivate employees to do well in their functions.
In addition, heritage which is influenced by the founder’s vision leading to efficient internal processes and concrete policies through institutional guiding principle and religious zeal were also identified. Spiritual practices were observed and constantly being practiced in the academic institutions under study; thus, top and middle management leaders also identify it as one of the contributory factors for the success of their organization. The study’s emphasis on professionalism is anchored on the qualifications of the employees, whether they are part of the family who own the institution or not, thus promoting professional environment and employee engagement. Further, employee-centered practices such as rewarding personnel either in financial or non- financial forms lead to greater productivity of the work forces. The hands-on participation of the earlier generation in the management of the institution develop a sense of stewardship of the school and even extended to caring for their students, employees and beneficiaries. The most observed construct is excellence. The adherence of the higher education institutions under study to excellent practices is evident not only with the certifications they receive from local and international bodies, but also from the positive feedback from the respondents/personnel who mostly are alumni members of the institution.
On a different note, diversification and innovation are also evident in the institutions which influence the sustainability of the different processes and programs instituted by the leaders. Proper delegation is also highly observed by the respondents of the higher education institutions in this study. Varied styles of leadership as contributory factor to the success of the university is identified and observed both by the top and middle managers of the three cases.
The following themes were derived from the identified constructs – the presence of a positive (1) corporate culture and values, (2) shared vision, (3) corporate social responsibility, effective (4) corporate governance, a strong (5) human resource development program, a transformative (6) style of leadership, (7) strong family culture, (8) succession plan and effective (9) business strategies. These attributes and practices contribute to the success of family-owned higher education institutions in this study. It is concluded that these various themes form part of the emergent theory from the holistic model that can appropriately analyze family firm performance in the field of education in terms of sustainability through several generations. Significantly, the dominant theme was anchored on corporate culture and values, which reflect the family orientation of the leaders in the institution and the general culture of the Filipino people. The amalgamation of values, vision, mission, day to day aspects of communication, interaction and operational goals that create an organizational atmosphere where people work harmoniously make the difference in the performance from the educational leaders to the teaching and non-teaching personnel. Ultimately, sociological factors dominated the results of this study, reflecting how culture impacts different processes and structures in a family- owned Higher Education Institution.