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Ritch Sorenson

Professor, Opus Chair in Family Enterprise

  • Education
  • B.A., Rhetoric and Public Address, Brigham Young University 
    M.A., Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication, Brigham Young University 
    Ph.D., Organizational Communication, Purdue University 
  • Research Interests
  • Communication, conflict management, family business, governance and leadership.

Ritch Sorenson, PhD, currently serves as the Opus chair in family enterprise and as a professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.

Sorenson is completing case studies of four faith-based business families and multiple studies associated with a national survey of faith in family business. These studies reveal that family commitment to a common faith enables families to collaborate, which leads to family business growth, community development and family business succession. 


  • Hoover, J. D., Giambatista, R. C., Sorenson, R., & Bommer, W. H. (2017). Assessing the effectiveness of whole-person learning pedagogy on skill acquisition. Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal, (9)(2), pp. 192-203
  • Brigham, K., Sorenson, R., & Hoffman, J. (2015). When entrepreneurs have trouble with monogamy: It's their cognitive style. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Exchange (EIX),
  • Sorenson, R., & Milbrandt, J. (2015). A family affair - teaching families versus individuals: Insights gained from 24 years of family business education. Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal, (14)(1), pp. 366-384
  • Sorenson, R. (2013). How moral and social values become embedded in family firms. Journal of Management Spirituality and Religion, (10)(2), pp. 116-137
  • Spriggs, M. T., Yu, A., Deeds, D. L., & Sorenson, R. (2013). Too many cooks in the kitchen: Innovation capacity, collaborative network orientation, and performance in small family business. Family Business Review, (26)(1), pp. 32-50
  • Yu, A., Lumpkin, G. T., Sorenson, R., & Brigham, K. H. (2012). The landscape of family business outcomes: A summary and numerical taxonomy of dependent variables. Family Business Review, (25)(1), pp. 33-57
  • Sorenson, R., Smith, P. B., Peterson, M. F., Thomason, S. J., Ahmad, A. H., Akande, D., Andersen, J. A., Ayestaran, S., Bellotto, M., Bochner, S., Callan, V., Davila, C., Ekelund, B., Francois, P., Graverson, G., Harb, C., Jesuino, J., Kantas, A., Karamuskha, L., Koopman, P., Kruzela, P., Malyezzi, S., Mogaii, A., Mortazakavi, S., Munene, J., Pary, K., Peng, T. K., Punnett, B. J., Radford, M., Ropo, A., Sadhwani, S., Saiz, J., Savage, G., Szabo, E., Teparakul, P., Tirmizi, A., Tsvetanova, S., Viedge, C., Wall, C., Wang, Z. M., & Vanchuk, V. (2011). National culture as the moderator of the relationship between managers' use of guidance sources and how work events are handled. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, (42)(6), pp. 1101-1121
  • Hoover, J. D., Giambatista, R. C., Sorenson, R., & Bommer, W. H. (2010). Assessing the effectiveness of whole person learning pedagogy in skill acquisition. Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal, (9)(2), pp. 192-203
  • Distelberg, B., & Sorenson, R. (2009). Updating systems concepts in family business: A focus on values, resource flows, and adaptability. Family Business Review, (22)(1), pp. 65-81
  • Sorenson, R., & Bierman, L. (2009). Family capital, family business, and free enterprise. Family Business Review, (22)(3), pp. 193-195
  • Sorenson, R., Goodpaster, K. E., Hedberg, P. R., & Yan, J. (2009). The family point of view, family social capital, and firm performance: An exploratory test. Family Business Review, (22)(2), pp. 239-253
  • Sorenson, R., Folker, C., & Brigham, K. H. (2008). The collaborative network orientation: achieving business success through collaborative relationships. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (32)(4), pp. 615-634
  • Hoffman, J., Hoelscher, M., & Sorenson, R. (2006). Achieving sustained competitive advantage: A family capital theory. Family Business Review, (24)(2), pp. 137-146
  • Marshall, J. P., Sorenson, R., Brigham, K., Reifman, A., & Wieling, E. (2006). The paradox for the family firm CEO: Owner age relationship to succession-related processes and plans. Journal of Business Venturing, (21)(3), pp. 348-368
  • Yan, J., & Sorenson, R. (2006). The effect of Confucian values on succession in family business. Family Business Review, (24)(3), pp. 235-250
  • Smith, B., Peterson, M., Schwartz, S., Ahmad, A., & Sorenson, R. (2005). Demographic effects on the use of vertical sources of guidance by managers in widely differing cultural contexts. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, (5), pp. 5-26
  • Yan, J., & Sorenson, R. (2003). Collective entrepreneurship in family firms: The influence of leader attitudes and behaviors. (6)(2), pp. 37-51
  • Yan, J., & Sorenson, R. (2003). Socioeconomic institutions, social capital, and entrepreneurship: Are they similar between East and West. (10)(3), pp. 5-29
  • Sorenson, R. (2000). The contributions of leadership styles and practices to family and business success. Family Business Review, (13)(3), pp. 183-200
  • Sorenson, R. (1999). Conflict strategies used by successful family businesses. Family Business Review, (12)(4), pp. 325-339
  • Daugherty, M. S., & Sorenson, R. (2013). Family Business Landscape. Understanding the family business landscape: Key factors of family business success.
  • Sorenson, R. (2013). The Sage Handbook of Family Business. In L. Melin, M. Nordqvist, and P. Sharma (Ed.), Values in family business. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications
  • Sorenson, R. (2013). The landscape of family business. In R. L. Sorenson, A. Yu, K. H. Brigham, and Lumpkin, G.T. (Ed.), Owning family governance within the two dimensions of family business. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Sorenson, R., Yu, A., Brigham, K. H., & Lumpkin, G. T. (2013). The Landscape of Family Business. Cheltenham, UK Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Rothausen, T. J., & Sorenson, R. (2011). Social Capital in Family Business. In Sorenson, R.L. (Ed.), Leveraging family member capacity in family businesses (pp. 155-169). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Sorenson, R. (2011). Social capital and family business. Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Sorenson, R. (2011). Family Business and Social Capital. In Sorenson, R.L. (Ed.), Creating family and business social capital: A co-investigation with an anonymous daughter and granddaughter. Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Sorenson, R., Lumpkin, G. T., Yu, A., & Brigham, K. H. (2010). Society in embryo: Family relationships as the basis for social capital in family firms. Bingley, UK Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing
  • Sorenson, R., Yu, A., & Brigham, K. H. (2010). Advances in Entrepreneurship: Firm Emergence and Growth. In T. Lumpkin, A. Stewart & J. Katz (Ed.), Taking stock of one decade of research: An outcome-based framework for teaching family business (pp. 367-375). Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing

  • Best Dissertation Award, Family Firm Institute, 2012
  • Best Family Business Review Article Award (Honorable Mention, Family Firm Institute, 2013
  • Jack A. Dinos/ Cox Family Enterprise Center Best Family Business Paper Award, Academy of Management, 2009
  • Lifetime Influence and Impact Award, The Family Enterprise Research Academy, 2017
  • Opus Distinguished Chair in Family Enterprise, Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, 2007

  • FERC - Family Enterprise Research Conference,
  • Family Business Review, Editor
  • USASBE - U.S. Association for Small Business Entrepreneurship
  • Academy of Management
  • Family Firm Institute
  • Family Enterprise Research Conference
  • International Family Enterprise Research Academy
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Tenured Appointment to Opus Chair in Family Enterprise, University of St. Thomas - Opus College of Business, St. Paul / Mpls (2007 - present)
  • Academic Director, University of St Thomas - Family Business Center, Minneapolis (2007 - present)
  • Director, University of St Thomas - Family Business Center, Minneapolis (2007 - 2012)
  • Tenured Professor, Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business Administration, Lubbock (2000 - 2007)
  • Tenured Appointment to Trinity Company Professor of Management and Family Business, Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business Administration, Lubbock (2006 - 2007)
  • Tenured Associate Professor, Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business Administration, Lubbock (1992 - 2000)
  • Associate Professor, Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business Administration, Lubbock (1986 - 1992)
  • Tenured Associate Professor Department of Speech Communication, Iowa State University, Ames (1985 - 1986)
  • Assistant Professor Department of Speech Communication, Iowa State University, Ames (1978 - 1985)