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A Comparison of Family and Business Systems

Areas of Conflict
Family Systems
Business Systems
Goals Development and support of family members Profits, revenues, efficiency, growth
Relations Deeply personal, of primary importance Semi-personal or impersonal, of secondary importance
Rules Informal expectations ("That's how we've always done it") Written and formal rules, often with rewards and punishment spelled out
Evaluation Members rewarded for who they are; effort counts; unconditional love and support Support conditional on performance and results; employees can be promoted or fired
Succession Caused by death or divorce Caused by retirement, promotion, or departure
Authority Based on family position or seniority Based on formal position in the organization's hierarchy
Commitment Intergenerational and lifetime; based on one's identity with the family Short term; based on rewards received for employment

Excerpt from Consulting to Family Businesses



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