To Honor and To Grow: Recommendations for the Enduring Family Business

10 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2019

See all articles by June A. West

June A. West

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Alana Wall

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Family businesses are unique and complex; they have aspects and layers to them that are unlike any other organizations because at the root of family businesses' identities are the aspirations of both the business and the family's members, which could be at odds with one another. This note—a meta-analysis drawn from many authors' work—explores an approach that identifies ways to unify family and business, examining new possibilities and building a strong resiliency in the process. This analysis of various characteristics within family businesses provides opportunities to learn about how families are unique, offers examples of family businesses (when possible), and, most importantly, leads to clear recommendations.

Excerpt

UVA-ENT-0224

Jul. 16, 2019

To Honor and to Grow:

Recommendations for the Enduring Family Business

Family businesses are unique and complex; they have aspects and layers to them that are unlike any other organizations. Interesting and importantly, they combine Freud's idea of what constitutes a complete life: “lieben und arbeiten [to love and to work].” At the root of family businesses' identities are the aspirations of both the business and the family. These two sets of goals are often seen as opposites, which suggests a need to “reconcile,” “manage,” or overcome such “conflicting sets of demands.” In this way, a family business must then choose between the needs of the business and the needs of the family.

Perhaps a more effective approach is a more expansive view—one that identifies ways to unify family and business, exploring new possibilities and building a strong resiliency in the process. The examination of various characteristics within family businesses provides opportunities to learn about how families are unique, offer examples of family businesses (when possible), and, most importantly, lead to clear recommendations. These characteristics include family and business, business history and current reality, preservation and adaptation, family transitions and succession planning, the idea of an “open bubble,” a changing market environment for a company steeped in its legacy, family and culture in a business, new forms of communication with the same messaging, one family with new members, and plans for the future that are consistent and relevant. As such, each section of this note will demonstrate how family businesses can embrace their inherent complexities and challenges to create differentiating and enduring advantages.

. . .

Keywords: family businesses, succession planning, business history, adaptation, preservation, transitions, changing market environments, legacy, management, business communication

Suggested Citation

West, June A. and Wall, Alana, To Honor and To Grow: Recommendations for the Enduring Family Business. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0224. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423170

June A. West (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

Box 6550
100 Darden Boulevard
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-243-7693 (Phone)
434-243-7676 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/west.htm

Alana Wall

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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