Monday, February 13, 2006

Are We Family? The Joys and Tensions of Family Businesses

A Business Week Special Report, the first part of a multi-part series, points out that family-owned businesses, both large (Ford, Wal-Mart) and small, are an integral part of the American economy. Among other things, family-owned businesses provide over half of American jobs. Transition from one generation to the next has frequently been awkward in the past and continues to be so today--the recent resignation of Rupert Murdoch son's from News Corporation being one example. A relatively recent development in family-owned businesses is daughters inheriting the business--and William O'Hara of the Institute of Family Enterprise at Bryant College (RI) notes that this can be a good thing. Women-owned businesses, a Mass Mutual research study points out, tend to do better at succession planning, family retention and debt control. As generational friction occurs, one advantage is the trend toward bringing in expertise from the outside and developing more formal management structures.


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