Jill Thomas

Dr Jill Thomas

Visiting Research Fellow

Adelaide Business School

Faculty of the Professions


Having recently retired from her substantive teaching and research role, Jill is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Adelaide Business School furthering her research and education focus in the family business field. Her teaching in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in Adelaide and Singapore was in the leadership and family business areas. Jill also facilitated Executive Education programs.

Jill's doctoral studies focused on leadership and family business and her current research activity relates to governance, communication, internationalisation and human resource issues in family owned and managed businesses in the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector. Jill's early career was in Human Resources Management and Training and Development in both the private and higher education sector.

Jill is co-founder of the Family Business Education and Research Group (FBERG) in the Adelaide Business School. Jill is a fellow of the Family Firm Institute (FFI, based in the USA). In 2013 she completed a term as a Director of FFI and one year as Vice-Chair.. She is also a Director of Family Business Australia (FBA).

Her research interests include:

 Leadership and communication
 Governance
 Family Business

Jill has a particular interest in the professional management of family owned businesses, particularly those businesses in the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector. She has explored decision-making in the family business, the perception of family business leaders about the role of non-family managers (particularly finance managers), communication processes within the family business, as well as investigating issues relevant to boards and governance of SME family businesses.
Jill was Chief Investigator for an ARC Linkage grant for which APAI doctoral student Chris Graves examined the "Strategic responses of Australian family-owned businesses in the manufacturing sector to the pressures of globalisation".

Teaching Interests:

Jill teaching focused on the first course in the MBA program, Fundamentals of Leadership, both in Adelaide and offshore in Singapore. With Chris Graves, Jill developed the MBA elective - Family Business Issues and Perspectives. Jill has also taught the 'Leading and Managing People' module in the Faculty's Executive Education programs where practising managers attend one and two day programs to update their skills and knowledge.

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  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2010 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Internationalisation of Immigrant Ethnic Entrepreneurs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Melanie Jade Smans
    2002 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Venturing Beyond the Backyard: An Examination of the Internationalisation Process of Australian Small-to-Medium-Sized Family-Owned Manufacturing Enterprises Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time APrf Christopher Graves
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2012 - 2013 Vice-Chair Family Firm Institute
    2011 - ongoing Board Member Family Business Australia Board
    2010 - 2013 Board Member Family Firm Institute
    1997 - ongoing Member Family Business Australia SA Advisory Committee
  • Position: Visiting Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83134911
  • Email: jill.thomas@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4368
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Nexus 10 Tower, floor 10
  • Room: 10 37
  • Org Unit: Business School Office

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