Pruning the Family Tree: An Unexplored Path to Family Business Continuity and Family Harmony

19 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2008

See all articles by Johan Lambrecht

Johan Lambrecht

European University College Brussels - Research Centre for Entrepreneurship

Jozef Lievens

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

It is assumed that over the generations family businesses inevitably face greater family complexity. The increasing family complexity can have repercussions for the family and the business. To counteract these negative effects of an increase in family complexity, it has been recommended that business families utilize conventional family and corporate governance methods. Pruning the family tree is an alternative method of handling family complexity. However, this alternative way has been largely ignored in research. This article explores the research question: Why and how do business families prune the family tree, thus simplifying the ownership, governance, and/or management structures of the family business? The research findings indicate that introducing simplicity by pruning can be a worthwhile path to family harmony and business performance and that there is no contradiction between pruning the family tree and governance of the family and the business.

Suggested Citation

Lambrecht, Johan and Lievens, Jozef, Pruning the Family Tree: An Unexplored Path to Family Business Continuity and Family Harmony. Family Business Review, Vol. 21, Issue 4, pp. 295-313, December 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1303740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-6248.2008.00131.x

Johan Lambrecht (Contact Author)

European University College Brussels - Research Centre for Entrepreneurship ( email )

Stormstraat 2
1000 Brussels
Belgium
+32 2 210 16 34 (Phone)
+32 2 210 12 76 (Fax)

Jozef Lievens

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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