Raffi Amit

Raffi Amit
  • Marie and Joseph Melone Professor
  • Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2012 SHDH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: entrepreneurship, family business, strategic management, venture capital financing

Links: CV, Google Scholar, Wharton Global Family Alliance, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Overview

Raphael (“Raffi”) Amit is the Marie and Joseph Melone Professor and a Professor of Management at the Wharton School. Dr. Amit founded and leads the Wharton Global Family Alliance (WGFA), a unique academic-family business partnership established to enhance the marketplace advantage and the social wealth creation contributions of enterprising families through thought leadership, knowledge transfers and the sharing of ideas and best practices among influential global families. He has served as the Academic Director with overall responsibility for Wharton Entrepreneurship which encompasses all of Wharton’s entrepreneurial programs between 1999 and 2015.

Dr. Amit holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Economics, and received his Ph.D. in Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Dr. Amit’s current research and teaching interests center on family business management, governance, and finance, on Family wealth management, on venture capital and private equity investments, on entrepreneurship, on the design of innovative business models and on business strategy. He has published extensively in leading academic journals and is frequently quoted in a broad range of practitioner outlets.

Dr. Amit’s award winning research on family firms, which centers on issues that relate to ownership, management, control and governance of family businesses, on wealth management, and on family offices is widely cited. He has been working with substantial families around the world on such issues as creating governance systems for families and their businesses, succession, valuation, wealth management, the formation of a family office, and more. Overall, the work of Dr. Amit with families integrates the behavioral and emotional issues that characterize the life of each family, with the economic and financial issues that must be addressed to sustain family harmony and happiness alongside with the long-term prosperity of the family enterprises.

Professor Amit has held a range of management and Board of Directors positions in various companies. He served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Creo Products Inc. for 6 years. (NASDAQ: CREO until May 2005 when it was acquired by Kodak.) Professor Amit has helped form the Korean Global IT Fund, a $100 million VC fund and has served as the first Chairman of the KGIF Advisory Board. He has served on the Board of Directors of Alvarion Ltd. a wireless communication equipment company, and has been a member of the Audit and Compensation Committees of Alvarion. He has also served as the only external director of a private family owned and controlled firm in Hong Kong. Dr. Amit currently serves on the Board of Directors of a global family controlled firm and advises numerous private and publicly held family controlled businesses, on a broad range of strategic, governance and financial issues.

 

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Research

  • Raffi Amit and Christoph Zott, Business Model Innovation Strategy: Transformational Concepts and Tools for Entrepreneurial Leaders (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2020)

  • Raffi Amit, X Han, C. Zott, “Collaboration in business model innovation”. In The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurship and Collaboration, Chapter 25, edited by J. Reuer, S. Matusik, and J. Jones, (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming, 2020)

  • Raffi Amit, L. Huang, H. Han CredEx Fintech: Business Model Transformation during the Digital Era.

    Description: HBS Case Study 9-420-080 (23 pages).

  • Raffi Amit, Yuliya Snihur, Christoph Zott (2020), Capturing value from emerging technologies: The role of strategic business model design, Strategy Science, forthcoming.

  • Raffi Amit, L. Huang, H. Han Teaching Note: CredEx Fintech: Business Model Transformation during the Digital Era.

    Description: HBS Case Study 5-420-123 (20 pages).

  • Belén Villalonga and Raffi Amit (2020), Family Ownership, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 36 (2), pp. 241-257.

    Abstract: This article reviews the existing literature about the most prevalent form of corporate ownership around the world: ownership by individuals—particularly founders—and families. We summarize the existing evidence about the prevalence and persistence of family ownership around the world, along with its impact on performance—both financial and non-financial—relative to other types of corporate ownership. We discuss how and why these empirical facts and findings come about—why owners in general, and family owners in particular, are critical drivers of firm behaviour and performance, and how they are able to exercise their influence over corporations in which other shareholders, such as institutional investors, and other stakeholders can also play an important role.

  • Emilie Feldman, Raffi Amit, Belén Villalonga (2019), Family Firms and the Stock Market Performance of Acquisitions and Divestitures, Strategic Management Journal, 40 (5), pp. 757-780.

    Abstract: This paper explores the stock market performance of acquisitions and divestitures where both, one, or neither of the companies in the transaction are family firms. We find that acquirer shareholder returns are highest when family firms buy businesses from non-family firm divesters, especially when family CEO acquirers buy businesses from non-family CEO divesters. Additionally, divester shareholder returns are highest when family firms sell businesses to non-family firm acquirers, especially when family CEO divesters sell businesses to non-family CEO acquirers. These findings reveal that it is important to consider the characteristics of both the acquiring and divesting firms when analyzing acquisition and divestiture performance, and that the expected gains to family firm acquisitions and divestitures are driven by transactions in which the counterparties are non-family firms.

  • Raffi Amit and Xu Han (2017), Value creation through novel resource configuration in a digitally enabled world, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 11 (3), pp. 228-242.

    Abstract: Research summary We propose a conceptual framework for examining the value‐creation potential embedded into novel, digitally powered resource configurations. We suggest that business digitization calls for firms to adopt a system‐based, value‐creation‐centric perspective for designing and organizing their resource configurations. Our conceptualization of a firm's resource configuration decisions centers on organizing access to resources controlled by value cocreators. We discuss resource configuration prototypes, value‐creation sources, and the underlying resource configuration processes enabled by digitization. Our study contributes to the literature on strategic entrepreneurship by incorporating the ramifications of digitization into the theory on firms’ resource configuration and its underlying processes to enable strategic entrepreneurship. Managerial summary Digitization has profoundly reshaped the way business opportunities are discovered and exploited. In this article, we suggest that digitization expands the scope of resources firm could utilize while requiring firms to take a holistic approach in considering the resources and addressing the needs of all customers and partners (e.g., resource providers). We highlight the importance of such a holistic approach to enhancing the value creation potential in the digital age for entrepreneurs and managers. In addition, we propose novel ways to connect resources with needs of customers and partners (e.g., enabling transactions and providing bridges) as well as the actionable microprocesses that undergird and enable these novel connections in a digitally enabled world. Copyright © 2017 Strategic Management Society.

  • Emilie Feldman, Raffi Amit, Belén Villalonga (2016), Corporate Divestitures and Family Control, Strategic Management Journal, 37 (3), pp. 429-446.

    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between divestitures and firm value in family firms. Using hand-collected data on a sample of over 30,000 firm-year observations, we find that family firms are less likely than non-family firms to undertake divestitures, especially when these companies are managed by family- rather than non-family CEOs. However, we then establish that the divestitures undertaken by family firms, predominantly those run by family-CEOs, are associated with higher post-divestiture performance than their non-family counterparts. These findings indicate that family firms may fail to fully exploit available economic opportunities, potentially because they pursue multiple objectives beyond the maximization of shareholder value. These results also elucidate how the characteristics of corporate owners and managers can influence the value that firms derive from their corporate strategies.

  • Raffi Amit and C. Zott, Business Model Design: A Dynamic Capability Perspective. In Oxford Handbook on Dynamic Capabilities, edited by D. Teece and S. Heaton, (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Teaching

Past Courses

  • EAS 499 - SENIOR CAPSTONE

    The Senior Capstone Project is required for all BAS degree students, in lieu of the senior design course. The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for the student to apply the theoretical ideas and tools learned from other courses. The project is usually applied, rather than theoretical, exercise, and should focus on a real world problem related to the career goals of the student. The one-semester project may be completed in either the fall or sprong term of the senior year, and must be done under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member. To register for this course, the student must submit a detailed proposal, signed by the supervising professor, and the student's faculty advisor, to the Office of Academic Programs two weeks prior to the start of the term.

  • MGMT231 - VENTURE IMPLEMENTATION

    This advanced course on entrepreneurship focuses on developing a validated opportunity or concept into a venture that is ready for seed financing and/or launching the product or service. Participants in this course must previously have developed a validated opportunity, either in a previous course or through independent efforts. Students may participate as a team of up to three people. Ideally, participants are commited to pursuing their opportunity commercially, or at least to seriously explore that possibility. The course provides a practical guidance for developing the product or service, forming the entity, raising capital building the team, establishing partnerships, and sourcing professional services. After completing the course, you will be "pitch ready" - whether submitting to campus venture competitions or to outside investors. Most coursework is focused on applying concepts and frameworks to project tasks in developing the venture. Students must have successfully completed MGMT 801 before enrolling in this course. Students must have successfully completed MGMT801 before enrolling in this course. Format: Readings, discussion, and developing an implementation plan for a real venture.

  • MGMT232 - BUS MOD INNOV STRATEGY

    Business Model Innovation Strategy is a half semester MBA elective course which centers on the conceptualization, design, analysis and implementation of novel business models by incumbent and by new venture leaders as well as on the organizational challenges associated with a business model innovation strategy. Students will be introduced to a framework for developing and implementing a new business model. The framework will be brought to life through a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, numerous illustrations and case discussions.

  • MGMT264 - VEN CAPITAL & ENT MGMT

    This course focuses on venture capital management issues in the context of a high-growth potential start-up company. The course is motivated by rapid increases in both the supply of and demand for private equity over the past two decades. The topic is addressed from two distinct perspectives: issues that relate to the demand for private equity and venture capital (the entrepreneur's perspective) on the one hand, and issues that relate to the supply of capital (the investor's perspective) on the other. As well, we will address management issues that relate to how the VC and the entrepreneur work together once an investment has been made, compensation issues, and governance issues in the privately held venture capital backed company. Format: Case/discussion format, supplemented by lectures and guest speakers. Requirements: Classroom participation, written case assignments, late midterm. Materials: Required Coursepack and supplemental recommended reading.

  • MGMT765 - VENTURE CAPITAL & ENT MG

    This elective half-semester course will highlight venture capital and entrepreneurship in general and will explore selected aspects of this industry, including: industry trends and dynamics in Silicon Valley and the South of Market area (SOMA) of San Francisco; the recent emergence of alternative sources of startup financing, including incubators/accelerators and crowdfunding platforms, angel groups and stage-agnostic institutional investors; business and operational aspects of early stage companies in transition to mezzanine-level stages of growth; and company "exits," including both initial public offerings and merger/sale transactions. MGMT765 and MGMT804 cover separate issues within the same general industry and are not redundant. This course addresses issues faced by later stage VC backed firms, while MGMT804 centers on early stage, pre-revenue startups. It is recommended students take MGMT 801 before enrolling in this course. The format of this course relies heavily on site visits and recognized leaders within the Bay Area to bring forth on-the-ground perspectives of a changing and important industry. While MGMT804 is not a prerequisite, the two courses are complementary.

  • MGMT801 - ENTREPRENEURSHIP

    MGMT 801 is the foundation coures in the Entrepeurial Management program. The purpose of this course is to explore the many dimensions of new venture creation and growth. While most of the examples in class will be drawn from new venture formation, the principles also apply to entrepreneurship in corporate settings and to non-profit entrepreneurship. We will be concerned with content and process questions as well as with formulation and implementation issues that relate to conceptualizing, developing, and managing successful new ventures. The emphasis in this course is on applying and synthesizing concepts and techniques from functional areas of strategic management, finance, accounting, managerial economics, marketing, operations management, and organizational behavior in the context of new venture development. The class serves as both a stand alone class and as a preparatory course to those interested in writing and venture implementation (the subject of the semester-long course, MGMT 806). Format: Lectures and case discussions Requirements: Class participation, interim assignments, final project Enrollment limited to Wharton MBA students only.

  • MGMT804 - VENTURE CAP & ENT MGMT

    This elective half-semester course focuses on venture capital management issues in the context of the typical high-growth potential early stage start-up company. The course is fundamentally pragmatic in its outlook. It will cover seven principal areas relevant to the privately held high-growth start-up which include: commentary on the venture capital industry generally, as well as a discussion of the typical venture fund structure and related venture capital objectives and investment strategies; common organizational issues encountered in the formation of a venture backed start-up, including issues relating to initial capitalization, intellectual property and early stage equity arrangements; valuation methodologies that form the basis of the negotiation between the entrepreneur and the venture capitalist in anticipation of a venture investment; the challenges of fundraising, financing strategies and the importance of the business plan and the typical dynamics that play out between VC and entrepreneur. It is recommended students take MGMT 801 before enrolling in this course. typical investment terms found in the term sheet and the dynamics of negotiation between the entrepreneur and the venture capitalist; compensation practices in a venture capital backed company; and corporate governance in the context of a privately-held, venture capital-backed start-up company and the typical dynamics that play out between VC and entrepreneur in an insider-led, "down round" financing. Requirements: Classroom participation, weekly case assignments, and final exam Format: Lecture, case studies, class participation, weekly case assignments, and final exam.

  • MGMT811 - ENTREP THROUGH ACQUIS.

    MGMT 811 focuses on the theoretical, strategic, analytics, and practical issuesof acquiring a business. Topics include: locating a business, due diligence, reviewing and analyzing data, valuation, raising capital/financing the deal, search funds, structuring the acquisition, letters of intent, contracts/asset purchase agreements, integrating the target, acquisition growth strategies, and transitioning/exiting the acquisition. Format: The class consists of lectures, in-class discussions of cases, assigned readings, homework problems, case studies, and a group or individual project. It is recommended students take MGMT 801 before enrolling in this course.

  • MGMT832 - BUS MOD INNOV STRATEGY

    Business Model Innovation Strategy is a half semester MBA elective course which centers on the conceptualization, design, analysis and implementation of novel business models by incumbent and by new venture leaders as well as on the organizational challenges associated with a business model innovation strategy. Students will be introduced to a framework for developing and implementing a new business model. The framework will be brought to life through a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, numerous illustrations and case discussions.

  • MGMT893 - ADVANCED STUDY-EMGT

  • MGMT932 - PROSEM IN MGMT

    This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the methodological approaches we commonly think of as qualitative, with special emphasis on ethnography, semi- structured interviews, case studies, content analysis, and mixed-methods research. The course will cover the basic techniques for collecting, interpreting, and analyzing qualitative (i.e. non-numerical) data. In the spring quarter, the course will operate on two interrelated dimensions, one focused on the theoretical approaches to various types of qualitative research, the other focused on the practical techniques of data collection, such as identifying key informants, selecting respondents, collecting field notes and conducting interviews. In the fall semester, the course will operate on two interrelated dimensions, one focused on the theoretical approaches on building arguments and theory from qualitative data, the other focused on the practical techniques of data collection, such as analyzing data, writing, and presenting findings. Note: This class is part of a two-part sequence which focuses on qualitative data collection and analysis. The first of this course, offered in the Spring, focuses on data collection and the second half of the course, offered the following Fall, will focus on qualitative data analysis. Each course is seven weeks long. Students may take either class independently or consecutively.

  • MGMT937 - ENTREP RESEARCH SEMINAR

    The seminar seeks to expose students to theoretical and empirical perspectives on entrepreneurship research. We will focus on the main questions that define the field and attempt to critically examine how, using a range of methodologies, researchers have approached these questions. As we review the literature, we will seek to identify promising research areas, which may be of interest to you in the context of your dissertation research. In addition to addressing the content of the received literature, we will examine the process of crafting research papers and getting them published in top tier journals. Towards that end we will characterize the key elements of high impact papers and review the development process of such studies. Students are expected to come fully prepared to discuss and critique the readings that are assigned to each class meeting (see details below). Each student will serve as the discussion leader for one or more of the class sessions. Discussion leaders are expected to critically review several articles, identify new insights in the research that is being reviewed and evaluate its contribution to the literature, position the articles within the literature on the subject matter, raise discussion question, and act as the discussion moderator for the class session. Each discussion leader is asked to prepare a one or two page summary of the assigned papers which includes a statement of the main research question(s), the methodology, data set if any, summary of findings, a commentary with your thoughts on the reading, and proposed discussion questions. Prior to each class, the discussion leader will meet the instructor to help plan the class meeting. Towards the end of each class meeting, each student will be asked to articulate a research question that emerged from the session and describe the research design used to investigate the issue.

  • MGMT938 - FAM BUS RES SEMINAR

    Family firms differ in a number of ways from non-family firms. These differences may result in differential behavior by and performance of family firms versus non-family firms. Although family-controlled firms make up the vast majority of businesses around the world, academic research in this space is sparse. This seminar seeks to expose students to theoretical and empirical perspectives on family businesses. Throughout the course, we will focus on the ownership, control, and management issues that set family firms apart. We will focus on the main issues faced by family firms, and attempt to critically examine how, using a range of methodologies, researchers have approached these issues. As we review the literature, we will seek to identify promising research areas, which may be of interest to you in the context of your dissertation research. In addition to addressing the content of the received literature, we will examine the process of crafting research papers and getting them published in top tier journals. Towards that end, we will characterize the key elements of high-impact papers and review the development process of such studies. Students are expected to come fully prepared to discuss and critique the readings that are assigned to each class (see details below). Each class will center on discussing in depth 4-5 papers from the reading list assigned to that class. Before each class, I will let you know which papers to prepare. Each student will serve as the discussion leader for one of more of the class sessions. Discussion leaders are expected to critically review several articles, identify new insights in the research that is being reviewed and evaluate its contribution to the literature, position the articles within the literature on the subject matter, raise discussion questions, and act as the discussion moderator for the class session. Each discussion leader is asked to prepare a one or two page summary of the assigned papers which includes a statement of the main research question(s), the methodology, data set if any, summary of findings, a commentary with your thoughts on the reading, and proposed discussion questions. Prior to each class, the discussion leader will meet the instructor to help plan the class meeting. Towards the end of each class, each student will be asked to articulate a research question that emerged from the session and describe the research design used to investigate the issue.

Awards and Honors

  • Sage Scholarly Impact Award – Finalist, 2016
  • Best Paper in Financial Management, Financial Management Association Annual Meeting, 2012
  • Elected Fellow of the Strategic Management Society, 2009
  • The Idea Award for thought leadership. Entrepreneurship Division, the Academy of Management, 2008
  • The Greif Entrepreneurship Research Impact Award, 2007
  • European Corporate Governance Institute for best paper in Finance prize “Benefits and costs of control: Enhancing Mechanisms in U.S. Family Firms”, 2007
  • Family Firm Institute best unpublished research paper (“Benefits and Costs of Control enhancing mechanisms in U.S Family Firms”), 2006
  • Strategic Management Journal Best Paper Prize “Strategic Assets and Organization Rents” (with Paul Schoemaker, Volume 14 Number 1, January 1993), 2000
  • McKinsey & Company/Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper Prize Honorable Mention. 20th Annual International Conference October 2000 Vancouver Canada for “Value Drivers of e-Commerce Business Models” (with C. Zott), 2000
  • Discovery Foundation Research Fellow, 1994
  • Ascendant Scholar Award, Western Academy of Management, 1993
  • Richard M. Paget Research Professor, 1989-1990
  • J.L. Kellogg Research Professor, 1984-1989
  • Northwestern University Doctoral Fellowship, 1974-1977

In the News

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Activity

Latest Research

Raffi Amit and Christoph Zott, Business Model Innovation Strategy: Transformational Concepts and Tools for Entrepreneurial Leaders (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2020)
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In the News

Why Business Model Innovation Matters More Than Ever

A new book by Wharton’s Raphael (“Raffi”) Amit and Christoph Zott from IESE Business School guides business leaders on how to step back from the pandemic chaos and craft a winning business model innovation strategy for the long game of disruption.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2/15/2021
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