Family Business

7 ways to alleviate tension in the family council

The family council is the ideal forum for owner families to reach consensus on the core decisions regarding their business. It is the preventive mechanism par excellence to analyze, discuss and debate critical issues, and make solid decisions based on shared criteria and commitment. In this way, family councils serve as firewalls, preventing conflicts from…

Evolving perspectives on ownership in family firms

In traditional economic-based views on governance, owners are often portrayed in a somewhat passive role, with an emphasis on the incentive structures they install to motivate employees and other key stakeholders. Under these frameworks, owners provide financial resources, while management–driven by the right incentives–execute day-to-day operations to create value. Yet this perspective fails to fully…

8 pillars of a professional board of directors

Robust corporate governance systems in family firms shouldn’t be any different than those in well-managed non-family firms – at least in theory. In practice, it’s another story. Boards of directors in family businesses have adjacent psychological and psychosocial dimensions, and disregarding these dynamics can easily lead to tensions among board members. During my tenure as…

Family firms see their largest growth increase in 15 years

Family-owned firms reported their largest growth increase in 15 years according to the 11th PwC Global Family Business Survey, carried out across 82 countries between October 2022 and January 2023. Strong values, employee communication and digital capabilities are among the traits shared by top-performing family firms. PwC Global Family Business Survey   Homepage image: Jonathan…

Seven communication insights for entrepreneurial families

At the start of a new academic year, let me first extend a warm welcome to everyone! The Chair of Family Business team is back, with our batteries fully charged and ready to continue offering you new insights and ideas to boost your firm’s performance. For my first article of 2023-24, I would like to…

Corporate governance in family firms

By their nature as family-owned, some family businesses think they can be more familiar and informal in their approach, and less commercial and regimented. This confusion can lead their operations to move in one direction and business formalities in the other. As a result, their corporate governance structures – shareholder and board meetings, for instance…

How employee incentives drive innovation in family firms

Innovation is the name of the game in today’s hypercompetitive markets: in order to survive, companies need to continuously innovate their products, processes and operations. Based on conventional wisdom, family-owned firms are at a disadvantage in this regard, with risk aversion, conservative attitudes, organizational rigidity and limited capital commonly cited as obstacles to innovation. At…

How family firms are guiding the sustainability journey

Stakeholder capitalism has gone mainstream with the rise of the sustainability agenda. For family businesses, the fundamentals of shared value are well-known and woven throughout the family capitalism business model. As explored in the newly released KMPG report "A Road Well-Traveled," family businesses have a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in guiding others…

The purpose of work: when productivity becomes a religion

Guest contributor: Carolyn Chen Sociologist · Author · Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California-Berkeley · Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion Much has been written about the role of purpose in the realm of family business. But what happens when organizations take it too far? Prof. Carolyn Chen explores the…

Roqueta Origen, a legacy of wine-growing entrepreneurs

Ramon Roqueta Segalés is a winemaker, agricultural engineer and CEO of the Roqueta Origen Group. A fifth-generation member of "wine-growing entrepreneurs,” he shares how the business has grown since its creation in the 12th century. I have the privilege of leading the Roqueta Origen group, a group of small wineries with distinct brands and identities.…

Succession and family vision

Succession is the most critical challenge faced by family businesses since it touches the very heart of family and firm: its foundational bricks and future legacy. It’s difficult because it affects people – predecessors and successors, the company and the owner family – as well as complex since it can impact all three different spheres…

Other things that tend to happen in family firms

In my previous post, I highlighted two of the most common mistakes in family businesses. To avoid going on about mistakes, I've decided to entitle this post “Other things that often happen in family firms.” To be sure, lots of good things happen in family firms. My colleague, teacher and friend, Prof. Miguel Ángel Gallo,…

Juste Group, strategic renewal in the family business

Inés Juste presides the Juste Group, a chemical-pharmaceutical company founded by her great-grandfather more than a century ago. In its fourth generation, the firm is a global reference thanks to its entrepreneurial spirit, innovative character and vocation for continuity between generations. The Juste Group was established in 1922 by my great-grandfather Rafael Juste Castán. A…

The power of women in family business

Today is March 8, International Women’s Day. On this day, the world comes together to shine a spotlight on the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, as well as the obstacles that continue to undermine gender equality in the workplace and other critical domains. First, some good news: there have been significant strides…

Family enterprises are outstripping the global economy

According to the 2023 EY and University of St.Gallen Family Business Index, the largest family enterprises are growing faster than the global economy: 10% compared to the world's 6%. Once again, the Index highlights the huge contribution of the world’s largest 500 family enterprises as a global economic driver. How the largest family enterprises are…

Why Building Trust Benefits Your Company

Trust has been the crux of economic exchanges since the creation of the world’s first marketplaces millennia ago. While several research studies have focused on trust in bilateral relationships, less is known about its broader social and economic ramifications and the specific role of family businesses. In this Forbes article, IESE Prof. Jeroen Neckebrouck shares…

Two of the most common mistakes made by family-owned firms

In my last post, I offered five strategies that family firms should follow if they have hopes of long-term survival. Today, the focus is on two of their most common mistakes, which can also make life much more complicated for their top leaders. (1) Bringing family members into the fold It’s not unusual for founders…

Family or firm: which comes first in family business?

This isn’t a very useful question in my view. It’s one that can lead us down the wrong path and even to erroneous decisions that generate conflicts that could have been easily avoided. It reminds me of another inane question that I’ve seen adults pose to young children: Who do you love more, Mom or…

The ripple effect of trust and the family firm

When searching for a new supplier, investor or manager, what’s your number one criterion? Industry reputation? A core metric? Economic cost or benefit? While all relevant criteria, there is another that trumps them all: trust. Defined in academic literature as the willingness of one party to be vulnerable to the actions of another, trust has…

The link between family firms and their stakeholders

Global organizations are increasingly integrating stakeholder opinions and ESG objectives in their corporate purpose, an approach that family businesses have been applying for decades. In this recently published Harvard Deusto article, I explore the essential role of purpose and why it should be viewed through a strategic lens: Profundizando en la relación entre empresas familiares…