Concordia University

Dr Alexandra Dawson

Associate Professor, Management
CIBC Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship and Family Business
Director, Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau

Office: S-MB 14363 
John Molson Building,
1450 Guy
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2144
Website(s): LinkedIn
Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau

I joined the John Molson School of Business in 2009 after attaining a PhD in Management and Business Administration from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) and an MSc Econ from the London School of Economics (London, UK). As of April 2018 I hold Concordia University's CIBC Distinguished Professorship in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. In 2015-16 I was a visiting scholar in the Department of Strategy and General Management at ESADE (Barcelona, Spain). I received a Dean's Award for Distinguished Scholarship in 2014.

My research interests are quite diverse but they all relate to how individual decision making and behaviour drive firm-level outcomes. I study these phenomena in two main settings: family businesses and large firms. First, by combining business and family, family businesses generate unique dynamics that are often centred around succession. I study decision making in this context as it relates to joining the family business, with individual commitment, history, trust and communication playing key roles, as well as to opening up to external investors, who can help the family transition whilst funding business growth. Second, I consider these occurrences in large firms, where individual decision making and behaviour can manifest themselves through the role that founders sometimes continue to play or through the effects of gender diversity in top management teams.

As the Director of the Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau, I coordinate a group of select MBA students offering business consulting services to entrepreneurs and business owners. In 2014-17 I was the Director of the National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. I was responsible for setting up and running the Initiative, providing research funding to faculty and students in the areas of entrepreneurship and family business, organizing speaker events, and working with JMSB's Entrepreneurs in residence.

Prior to academia, I was a manager with a strategy consulting firm in London, UK. In that role, I oversaw projects providing strategy advice to corporate clients and investment support (strategic due diligence) to private equity firms evaluating the commercial viability of potential investments.


PhD, Universita' Bocconi
MSc, London School of Economics
'Laurea' (equivalent to Master's), Università degli Studi di Palermo

Areas of expertise

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Family Business
  • Private Equity

Teaching activities

MANA 480

Entrepreneurial Family Business (UG)

MANA 482

Financing Entrepreneurial Ventures (UG)

MANA 499

Special Topics in Management: Developing the next generation of family business leaders.
JMSB International Summer School, recipient of the 2017
Premio Venezia, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada (academic category)

MANA 683

Entrepreneurship (MBA)

MBA 660

Small Business Consulting Bureau (MBA)


Refereed Journal Articles

Dawson, A., Paeglis, I. & Basu, N. (2017) Founder as steward or agent? A study of founder ownership and firm value. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,

Parada, M.J. & Dawson, A. (2017). Building family business identity through transgenerational narratives. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 30(3): 344-356.

Sharma, P., Debicki B.J., Dawson, A. & Kellermanns, F.W. (2017). Editorial: Behavioural issues in family enterprises. International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, 16(1/2): 1-12.

Hjorth, D. & Dawson, A. (2016) The burden of history in the family business organization. Organization Studies, 37(8): 1089-1111.

Dawson, A., Sharma, P., Irving, P.G., Marcus, J., & Chirico, F. (2015) Predictors of later generation family members’ commitment to family enterprises. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(3), 545-569.

Dawson, A., Irving, P.G., Sharma, P., Chirico, F., & Marcus, J. (2014) Behavioral outcomes of next generation family members' commitment to their firm. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23(4): 570-581.

Dawson, A & Mussolino, D (2014) Exploring what makes family firms different: Discrete or overlapping constructs in the literature? Journal of Family Business Strategy, 5(2): 169-183.

Dawson, A. & Hjorth, D. (2012) Advancing family business research through narrative analysis, Family Business Review, 25(3): 339-355.

Dawson, A. (2012) Human capital in family businesses: Focusing on the individual level. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 3(1): 3-11.

Dawson, A. (2011) Private equity investment decisions in family firms: The role of human resources and agency costs. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(2): 189-199.

Book Chapters

Dawson, A. & Parada, M.J. (Forthcoming). Corporate governance in family businesses across generations: Exploring intergenerational issues, in Memili, E. & Dibrell, C. (Eds.), Heterogeneity among Family Firms, Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Chadwick, I. & Dawson, A. (2018) Women in leadership and family firm performance, in D’Allura, G.M. & Faraci, R. (Eds.) Governance delle Imprese Familiarie e Traiettorie di Crescita. Internazionalizzazione, Innovazione e Contesti Istituzionali (pp. 99-105), Franco Angeli, Italy (in Italian).

Parada, M.J. & Dawson, A. (2017) Exploring institutional entrepreneurship in developing countries. Co-preneurs in the tourism industry: A Bolivian case, in Ramirez-Pasillas, M., Brundin, E., & Markowska, M. (Eds.), Contextualizing Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies and Developing Economies (pp. 194-210), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.

Dawson, A. (2014) A look into the future: What is the next generation of family business scholars focusing on?, in Melin, L., Nordqvist, M., & Sharma, P. (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Family Business (pp. 629-642), Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Dawson, A. & Valentini, G. (2013) Acquisition and diversification behaviour in large family firms, in Smyrnios, K.X., Poutziouris, P.Z., & Goel, S. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Family Business (pp. 719-733), 2nd Edition, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK.

Corbetta, G. & Dawson, A. (2011) Innovation and R&D policies in Italy. In Mian, S. (Ed.), Science and Technology Based Regional Entrepreneurship: Global Experience in Policy and Program Development (pp. 125-142), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.

Valentini, G. & Dawson, A. (2010) Beyond knowledge bases: Towards a better understanding of the effects of M&A on technological performance. In Finkelstein, S. & Cooper, C.L. (Eds.), Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions (pp. 177-197), Volume 9, Emerald Books, Bingley, UK.

Corbetta, G. & Dawson, A. (2007) Relationship-based and market-based models of interaction between private equity and family firms. In Cafferata, R. (Ed.), Industria e Finanza in Italia (pp. 247-261), Il Mulino (in Italian).

Dawson, A. & Lassini, U. (2005) External environment and growth of family firms. In Corbetta, G. (Ed.), Capaci di Crescere (pp. 227-253), Egea, Milan (in Italian).

Participation activities

Recent Conference Presentations

Parada, M.J. & Dawson, A. (2016) Building family businesses identity through transgenerational narratives of business families. ESADE Conference on Rhetoric and Narratives in Management Research, Barcelona, Spain.

Chadwick, I. & Dawson, A. (2016) Female leadership and family business performance: Distinguishing between financial and nonfinancial performance. International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA) Research development workshop, Catania, Italy (Best paper award).

Dawson, A. & Sharma, P. (2014) Successors’ career intentions: The role of dispositional and situational factors. Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC), Portland, USA.

Media interviews

Thinking Out Loud Live event (2017, 1 March), Concordia University's public engagement series in collaboration with The Globe and Mail.

An elevated proposal (2017, 18 Feb), in The Globe and Mail.

Family Business: Succession Planning (2015, 18-24 May), Canal Savoir

Montreal makes the most of its creative resources (2015, 3 Apr), in Montreal Gazette.

Montreal’s small businesses struggling to survive (2015, 23 Mar), in Montreal Gazette.

Passer le flambeau,une opération delicate (2014, 28 Oct), in Le Devoir.

L’entrepreneuriat québécois au tournant d’une generation (2014, 7 May), in Découvrir, Association francophone pour le savoir.


Mentor, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada (project: Chamber Mentoring for International Growth)

Concordia news

Back to top

© Concordia University