Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Training Marriage and Family Therapists as Family Business Advisors: A Supervisory Model

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Training Marriage and Family Therapists as Family Business Advisors: A Supervisory Model

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Family business advisors play a crucial role in assisting family businesses on issues surrounding the business, the family, and both. One issue that has not been addressed is the ideal supervision modality while training marriage and family therapists as family business advisors. Using a modified Delphi method, ten marriage and family therapists experts in consulting family businesses were asked about the best way to supervise therapists being trained as family business consultants. The findings suggest a supervisory model which combines supervisors from the same and different field of expertise as the supervisee. The authors apply these results and suggest a supervisory model that could be implemented by the Family Firm Institute's certificate program which could include a generalist and specialist certificate to train specialized family business advisors.

CURRENT SUPERVISION MODELS IN TRAINING FAMILY BUSINESS ADVISORS

Family businesses have always been the dominant form of business enterprises around the world and play a major role in economic, social, and political well-being of free world countries today. It is estimated that 95% of the world's businesses are family businesses; approximately 90% of all business establishments in the United States (Beckhard & Dyer, 1983), 80% in South Africa (Venter, Boshoff, & Maas, 2005), and 98% in the Gulf States (Welsh & Raven, 2006).

Family business advisors play a crucial role in assisting family businesses on issues as wide-ranging as the two ends of the spectrum-family to business and the intersection of both. Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are not trained as family business advisors and those that have been trained on the business side as financial and legal advisors lack training on the family side. In order for advisors to obtain an interdisciplinary understanding of family businesses, the Family Firm Institute (FFI), an international association devoted to the education and professional development of family business owners and advisors, created a certificate program. Such a program requires that advisors be supervised by mentors from a different discipline. This supervision model differs from that used in mental health professions. The rationale underlying such a model is the importance for advisors to have an interdisciplinary understanding of family businesses it, however, leaves aside specialization in one particular discipline.

A larger study on the creation of a curriculum to train MFTs in family business consulting shed light into the importance of supervision. Ten MFTs experts in consulting family businesses were asked about their perception of the best way to supervise marriage and family therapists being trained as family business consultants. The authors apply these findings to the actual training model provided by the FFI and suggest that the FFI's certificate program include a generalist certificate in family business advising and a higher level specialist certificate as an alternative to train effective family business advisors.

CROSS-DISCIPLINARY TRAINING FOR FAMILY BUSINESS CONSULTANTS

While the importance of family business in the global economy has been well established, formal education and research programs that specifically focus on family businesses have appeared in the last twenty years. Interest in family business studies began escalating in the 1990s. In 1998, Nation 's Business magazine identified 20 universities in the U.S. that had established some form of family business program within or affiliated to their business schools. In the last ten years, doctoral education in family firms emerged and rigorous empirical studies on family business have taken place (Hoy & Sharma, 2006).

The complexities of the family business system require the integration of insights from a variety of disciplines. Therefore, family business consultants, regardless of their specialized background, should have awareness and exposure to concepts, skills and techniques in legal, financial, management, and behavioral aspects of family businesses (FFI, 2008). …

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