Threats to Multigenerational Survival of Family Businesses

  • Joachim Schwass


Growing any business is a challenge. Growing a family business is even more of a challenge as evidenced by the fact that a vast majority of small- to medium-sized family businesses grow very little. In order to support a growing, multigenerational family, its leaders must adopt growth as both a mindset and as an objective to be implemented over time. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, as the family grows there are exponentially more family owners and that translates into paying a growing number of dividends. Secondly, market conditions change and adaptation and renewal are necessary. Few family businesses escape the need to adapt. Business growth is the outward sign of successful adaptation and responding to market needs. Thirdly, when business growth is built upon a vision that each successive generation has developed and implemented, it confirms a sense of personal worth and professional achievement for the family and its leaders. Instead of just inheriting a business and its already existing vision, the successor generation is seen as contributors in their own right — leaders who have developed their own vision. This positive perception is held both by themselves and by others, including non-management family members and the organization’s management and employees.


Family Business Family Owner Business Growth Interest Level Leadership Succession 
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© Joachim Schwass 2005

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  • Joachim Schwass

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