Family Relations and Family Businesses: A Note from the Guest Editors

By Morris, Michael Lane; Kellermanns, Franz W. | Family Relations, July 2013 | Go to article overview

Family Relations and Family Businesses: A Note from the Guest Editors


Morris, Michael Lane, Kellermanns, Franz W., Family Relations


Scholars, practicing professionals and clinicians, and leaders from a diverse assortment of disciplines (e.g., family science, business, law) have been interested in trying to find ways to improve the bidirectional interface and dynamics between families and the business(es) they own or control (i.e., family business). Family and business represent two systems or cultures that can be allies or enemies - largely depending on the stresses, competing expectations, functioning dynamics, and conflicts rising from systemic interplay of these two unique systems (e.g., Barnett, Eddieston, & Kellermanns, 2009; Pieper & Klein, 2007; Tagiuri & Davis, 1992). Statistics about family businesses reveal that family businesses are the dominant organizational form worldwide and are responsible for up to 90% of the gross domestic products of the world and thereby responsible for providing millions of jobs (e.g., Astrachan & Shanker, 2003; Klein, 2000; La Porta, Lopez-de-Silanes, & Shleifer, 1999). Yet, nearly three quarters of family businesses fail for some reason (e.g., sold, liquidated) as the family business transitions across generations (Gersick, Davis, Hampton, & Lansberg, 1997; Ward, 1987).

For the past three decades, research in this arena has been published in diverse academic journals (e.g., primarily management, entrepreneurship, psychology, economics, and, to a lesser degree, and family sciences; for recent reviews, see Debicki, Matherne, Kellermanns, & Chrisman, 2009; Gedajlovic, Carney, Chrisman, & Kellermanns, 2012; Sharma, Chrisman, & Gersick, 2012; Wright & Kellermanns, 2011; Yu, Lumpkin, Brigham, & Sorenson, 2012). Most of this research has broadly focused on the exploration and investigation of areas primarily related to the business side of the family business equation, involving topics such as goals and objectives (e.g., economic goals, goal formulation), strategy formulation and content (e.g., strategic planning, competitive advantage, business strategy, entrepreneurship), and management (e.g., leadership, professionalism, succession planning), with limited attention to the family relations and dynamics that undergird these family business issues (e.g., family functioning, stress, well-being, communication, family structure, value systems; Debicki et al., 2009).

As coeditors of this special collection, we hope that these articles will stimulate additional interdisciplinary research that will explore important family and family business dynamics, processes, policies, practices, programs, and interventions that appear to positively influence the intersections between families and family businesses. Because so much is at stake, it is vitally important for family science and family business scholars to bring their scholarly endeavors together to help us better understand the complex relationships existing between the business performance of the familycontrolled or -owned firms and organizations in conjunction with the possible implications (e.g., functioning) this has for the individual, the family, the community, the family business, and the economy. By better understanding these interface issues and challenges, family and business scholars can collaboratively and strategically design solutions that positively impact work, training (family life education), career development programs, and assistance strategies enabling employees/families to be more engaged (at home and work), happy, successful, healthy (e.g., well-being), more productive (e.g., competitive, profitable), and fulfilled in their dual roles as employers and family members.

PURPOSE AND BRIEF ARTICLE DESCRIPTIONS IN THE SPECIAL COLLECTION

The purpose of this Family Relations special collection is to examine the interface existing between family relations and dynamics and family businesses using relevant theory, research, and practice. More specifically, this special collection focuses on the broad range of philosophical, theoretical, conceptual, and empirical issues and challenges operating between families and family businesses with the intention of providing researchers and practitioners in various fields of study (e. …

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