About

How should family offices and families with holding companies, businesses and foundations use their private capital to address climate change, social disparities, and other global challenges identified by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? 

Our research into this question has twin goals:

  • World-class business and management research regarding family-owned private capital and impact, in leading peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • Actionable, research-based insights for practitioners regarding how private capital owners can use their ownership portfolios, including their investments, to address global challenges. 

Research

The agility of family owners and their potential for long-term thinking can potentially catalyse positive change across their holdings, from family offices to family holding companies. However, change is fraught with organisational, regulatory, political and behavioural barriers.

We are identifying best practices and innovations via in-depth qualitative case studies and analysing how investment strategies, organisational design and governance link to impact generation via our online survey, interviews and anthropological participant observation.

Our research questions

  1. What organisational designs, decision tools, incentive mechanisms and leadership practices enable and/or impede private capital owners in contributing to positive impact at scale while leveraging their unique attributes?
  2. What strategies do private capital owners and their organisations use to generate impact across different asset classes?
  3. How do existing regulatory frameworks, legal forms, governance structures and reporting standards facilitate and/or impede private capital owners’ impact strategies?

Participate in our research

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We welcome hearing from family offices, family holding companies and family businesses who wish to take our survey, sit for an interview, or be a case study. Participants are anonymous and identifying data is anonymised.

Participants are invited to join our 'Community of practice,' comprised of family organisations, family members and executives. This network is a resource for peer-to-peer contact, peer learning, and members-only programming derived from research insights. We aim to enable families to harness their resources and to create positive societal and environmental impact at scale. 

 

Ownership Project Insights

Ownership Project Insights is the Ownership Project's white paper series for family offices, family holding companies, family businesses, family foundations, and those working closely with them. These action-oriented papers deliver fresh analyses, data-driven observations, provocations, and playbooks. 

We welcome submissions of 1,000-3,000 words from:

  • Academic visitors to Oxford Saïd
  • Doctoral students
  • Executive MBA and MBA students
  • Ownership Project collaborating organisations
  • Professionals working in family-led organisations 

Read our 'Call for papers' for more detailed submission guidance.

Project team

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Affiliated faculty

Partners and collaborators

We are housed within the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford Saïd, using programmatic support and the global Skoll network to support our work.

Our research collaborators and partners support our data collection, amplify our findings, provide ongoing feedback on our methods, data and process, and co-author with us.

Advisors

Family Advisory Council

Our Family Advisory Council consists of a diverse set of current or former chief executive and senior leaders of family offices and family businesses drawn from a variety of sectors and regions. 

The Council meets as a group and in regular one-to-one sessions with our researchers to test our ideas and ensure that our insights are disseminated to the people holding the levers enabling change. 

Ownership Project Advisors

The Ownership Project Advisors are engaged participants in the initiative, challenging us to conduct the best possible research, which will in turn support more impactful deployment of private capital. 

They serve as advocates for the initiative, helping to forge external partnerships, providing active support for publicising the initiative, and disseminating research outputs both individually and through their networks. 

Project history

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Ownership Project 2.0 builds upon the Ford Foundation-supported Ownership Project 1.0 (2018-2022), a global study of responsibility and purpose among large family businesses with annual revenue above USD1 billion. This provided a strong network of private capital owners, their member networks, family offices, foundations and professional service providers.

The concluding Impact and Activities Report 2018-2022 summarises Ownership Project 1.0's research and outputs.

Contact

Email ownership@sbs.ox.ac.uk for further information.