The Ownership Project at Oxford Saïd

Ownership for influence and impact

Oxford colleges

A unique platform to gauge the impact of ownership on corporate performance.

Examining ownership and impact

Starting with family firms, we are investigating how ownership influences the endurance, value, conduct and stakeholder relationships of corporations.

Our project delivers an independent analysis of how ownership influences businesses and the communities in which they operate. With family firms representing over 80% of all businesses, our primary focus is on family owners. However, our findings are relevant across a range of ownership types.

The programme identifies:

  • How owner objectives translate into organisational behaviour
  • How financial and non-financial objectives become embedded in business
  • Dynamics in times of corporate transition or changes to the operating environment
  • How ownership affects and values different types of capital

Principal Investigators are Professor Colin Mayer CBE and Dean Professor Peter Tufano, it is directed by Dr Mary Johnstone-Louis, and funded by the Ford Foundation.

We are looking at the role of the owner in defining the ways that corporations behave and how they construe their purpose.

Dr Mary Johnstone-Louis

Senior Research Fellow, Saïd Business School


Our research builds on the theme of corporate purpose to deliver "profitable solutions to problems of people and planet" (Mayer, 2018). What does it mean to be a responsible owner, now and in the future? Our findings will inform solutions for owners seeking to influence their firms towards more purposeful performance.

Advisory Councils

Park End Street
Park End Street

Global family business leaders, academics and professionals support the translation of our research into impact.

Our Councils offer their knowledge and expertise to ensure the enduring benefit of our outputs and support us in disseminating the results through their professional networks.

Family Advisory Council

Advisory Council

External partnerships

We are partnered with networks dedicated to the examination of business and its leadership, through initiatives that will redefine the purpose of the 21st century firm.

Our sponsor

ford foundation logo

Across eight decades, the Ford Foundation has invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity.

Learn more about their work in civil rights, education, arts and culture, human rights, poverty reduction and urban development.