Resolving Conflict in Family Business

Resolving Conflict in Family Business

The University of Connecticut
by Peter A. & Susan R. Glaser, Ph.D.

Being in a family business can be both joyful and agonizing. How is it that the people we care for the most can become the recipients of the very worst we have to offer? We usually have the best of intentions when we talk to our spouse or a family member about a challengingbusiness issue. So how is it that our good intentions are misunderstood?

Every message we communicate occurs on two levels simultaneously. One level (the onewhich we tend to be most aware of) we call the content level. This is the information component. The other more subtle and powerful part of the message is the relationship level ofmeaning. Anger and conflict are usually caused by the subliminal relationship messages. More…

The Key Issues that Can Help Family Businesses Gain Control of Sibling Rivalries

The Key Issues that Can
Help Family Businesses Gain Control
of Sibling Rivalries

by Thomas Davidow and Richard Narva

Old soldiers, General Douglas MacArthur once remarked, “don’t die, they just fade away.”

Not so sibling rivalries. They have been around since the beginning of mankind–related most memorably in the biblical narratives of Cain and Abel and that of Joseph, his brothers, and the coat of many colors. And they can create nearly as much havoc in today’s family businesses as they did in the biblical tales. Some family businesses have been literally torn apart by the intensity of feelings created when one sibling feels neglected or rejected, and proceeds to walk out on the family business or go to court in search of vengeance or justice.

Family businesses can never realistically expect to completely rid themselves of problems created by sibling rivalries. The best that family businesses can hope to accomplish is to minimize the conflicts. More…