Are family firms really more socially responsible?

For socially responsible firms, corporate performance is more than financial statements and shareholder returns. Looking beyond the balance sheet, they aspire to serve all stakeholders, from employees, customers and suppliers, to local communities and society at large. In the realm of family-owned firms, a core dimension of this focus is socioemotional wealth (SEW), which refers […]

Osborne Group: 8 generations of passion and drive

Carla Terry Osborne As the head of Osborne Group’s institutional relations, Carla Terry Osborne leads initiatives to foster pride of belonging among the company’s 330-plus shareholders, including Osborne’s broad calendar of events to commemorate its 250th anniversary in 2022. Here she shares what motivated her to join the family business and how separating management and […]

Do we have an ownership strategy?

In our 2012 book Genesis of the Board, José María Navarro-Rubio and I explore the concurrence of three distinct spheres in family-controlled firms – ownership, business and management – which business owners must address in parallel. First is the ownership strategy, which outlines the owners’ vision in terms of the type of company they aspire […]

A sense of purpose in family-owned firms

“The importance of serving stakeholders and embracing purpose is becoming increasingly central to the way that companies understand their role in society. A company cannot achieve long-term profits without embracing purpose and considering the needs of a broad range of stakeholders.” – Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock This powerful message, directed at the […]

What’s the purpose of a shared family purpose?

“To whom much is given, much will be required.” This precept dates back to biblical times yet remains just as relevant as ever among multigenerational family firms. By distributing their wealth toward specific social causes and concerns – often unrelated to their core business – high-net-worth families can serve as powerful agents of change. On […]

Types of shareholders in family-owned firms

Family-owned businesses, especially later-generation firms, are supported by different types of stakeholders: shareholders, investors and owners. There’s a fourth category – speculator – that I’m omitting since it’s not worth mentioning. In my view, there is no wealth creation derived from speculation, which moreover, rarely occurs in family firms. So what are the differences between […]