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Dr Alexandra Dawson

Associate Professor, Management
CIBC Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship and Family Business

Dr Alexandra  Dawson
Office: S-MB 14363 
John Molson Building,
1450 Guy
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2144
Website(s): LinkedIn

Alexandra Dawson joined the John Molson School of Business in 2009. She has a PhD in Management and Business Administration from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy), where she was also a post-doctoral fellow, and an MSc Econ from the London School of Economics (London, UK). As of April 2018 she holds Concordia University's CIBC Distinguished Professorship in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. In 2015-16 she was a visiting scholar in the Department of Strategy and General Management at ESADE (Barcelona, Spain). She received a Dean's Award for Distinguished Scholarship in 2014. She is an Associate Editor for Journal of Family Business Strategy and is on the Review Board for Family Business Review.

Alexandra's research interests are at the intersection of entrepreneurship and family business. She is interested in how individual decision making and behaviour drive firm-level outcomes. In family businesses she studies entrepreneurial decision making as it relates to succession, focusing on organizational commitment, history and trust, as well as to opening up to private equity investors, who can help the family transition whilst funding business growth. Her recent research is also about the role that founders continue to play in public firms and the effect of gender diversity in entrepreneurship and top management teams.

In 2014-19 Alexandra was the director of the Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau (CSBCB), supervising select MBA students offering business consulting services to entrepreneurs and business owners. In 2014-17 she was the founding director of the National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. She 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, Alexandra was a manager with a strategy consulting firm in London, UK. In that role, she 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

COMM 320

Entrepreneurship (undergraduate)

MANA 683

Entrepreneurship (MBA)

MANA 480

Entrepreneurial Family Business (UG)

MANA 482

Financing Entrepreneurial Ventures (UG)

MBA 660

Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau (MBA; 2014-2019)

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)


Refereed Journal Articles (click on links for full text)

Parada, M., Samara, G. Dawson, A. & Bonet, E. (2019) Prosperity over time and across generations: the role of values and virtues in family businesses. Journal of Organizational Change Management,,

Dawson, A., Ginesti G. & Sciascia, S. (2019) Family-related antecedents of business legality: An empirical investigation among Italian family owned SMEs Journal of Family Business Strategy,,

Chadwick, I.C. & Dawson, A. (2018) Women leaders and firm performance in family businesses: An examination of financial and nonfinancial outcomes. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 9(4): 238-249.

Dawson, A. & Barredy, C. (2018) Private equity investment in family firms: The role of stake size and deal syndication. Venture Capital, 20(4): 355-376.

Dawson, A., Paeglis, I. & Basu, N. (2017) Founder as steward or agent? A study of founder ownership and firm value. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 42(6): 886-910.

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., & Gimeno, A. (Forthcoming, 2020). Growth through innovation and internationalization:Exploring the role of family business identity through narrative analysis. In: Kammerlander, N. & De Massis, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Family Business, Edward Elgar.

Dawson, A. & Parada, M.J. (2019). Corporate governance in family businesses across generations: Exploring intergenerational issues, in Memili, E. & Dibrell, C. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Heterogeneity Among Family Firms (pp. 115-139), Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Dawson, A. (2019) Financial performance and corporate reputation in family firms: Is it about being good or being known?, in Colli, A., D’Allura, G.M., Faraci, R. & Goel, S. (Eds.) Family firms and institutional contexts: Business models, innovation and competitive advantage (pp. 170-185), Edward Elgar Publishing.

Dawson, A. & Parada, M.J. (2019). Corporate governance in family businesses across generations: Exploring intergenerational issues, in Memili, E. & Dibrell, C. (Eds.), Heterogeneity among Family Firms (pp. 115-139), 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 (since 2016)

Bannò, M., Dawson, A., & Trento, S. (2019). Internationalization of family businesses: The role of female presence in boards of directors, 4th International Family Business Research Forum, International University of Monaco, Principality of Monaco.

Dawson, A. & Dawson, H. (2018) Family businesses and communities of practice: Introducing the ‘community-level family’ model, International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA) conference, Zwolle, Netherlands.

Dawson, A., Parada, M.J. & Samara G. (2018) Values and virtues in family firms. 7th Conference on Rhetoric and Narratives in Management Research, ESADE, Barcelona, Spain.

Dawson, A. (2017) Family business entrepreneurs joining social movements: The struggle between tradition and innovation, International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA) Research development workshop, Bolzano, Italy.

Chadwick, I. & Dawson, A. (2016) Female leadership and firm performance across business contexts. Academy of Management, Anaheim, USA.

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).

Media interviews

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


Associate Editor, Journal of Family Business Strategy (since 2018)
Review Board Member, Family Business Review (since 2012)
Mentor, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada (project: Chamber Mentoring for International Growth, 2018)
Governing Council Member, American Chamber of Commerce in Canada-Quebec chapter (since 2020)

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