Connecting and Separating Family and Business (Part I)

Connecting and Separating
Family and Business (Part I)

by Douglas G. Flemons, Ph.D. and Patricia M. Cole,Ph.D.
Nova Southeastern University

When members of a family business experience difficulties, they may hire a consultant to make recommendations for change. The consultant’s suggestions will, of course, reflect the assumptions he or she makes about the sorts of unique challenges and conundrums faced by the clients,and the way in which such difficulties can be most effectively addressed.

A variety of theoretical overlays have been proposed for making sense of the rich complexities faced by members in family businesses and for how to solve the problems that can arise. Each orientation focuses the consultant’s attention in a particular direction, drawing distinctions which bring into existence particular abstractions–such as “role-sets”or “triangulation”–and render invisible (out of mind) that for which there is no name. What can be seen in, and understood about a situation determines the scope and the nature of the consultant’s suggestions. More…