Gallo, Ford, Guinness, IBM, Gucchi, Mondavi, Reliance and Addidas…Global brands?Before they were these brands they were family owned companies (or family run in the case of IBM).Authors Grant Gordon and Nigel Nicholson do a fairly decent job in their research of these family business as well as many others.They give summarized histories of the businesses germinating and taking off.They even give genealogical breakdowns of the families in question.But where they really score is that they have been able to analyze these situations on both an organizational behavior level as well as that of a psychological level.
The authors are quick to point out in the beginning of this book that there are many advantages to being in a family run business.Decisions are made quicker.Conflicts can often tend to be resolved in a more efficient manner.The businesses are often more profitable and last longer than a “corporate” business, that is, with professional management and not family management.They also point out that family friction can be good for the business in certain instances.But it is the struggle for control that generally unwinds everything.
The book itself is written in a very interesting style.It could pass for a professional business book, a university text book or a non-fiction book that is written for pleasure.I have to commend the authors on this – especially since this was a joint effort and not one man doing all of the written production.
Throughout Family Wars we see the causes of the inter-family strife and are generally walked through the resolutions – and sometimes there really aren’t any.Gordon and Nicholson show us the several models where familial business friction occurs:When the head of the family doesn’t want to release control, sibling rivalry, disagreements in company direction, etc.It would seem that no matter what the background, nationality, era, product or business model these same issues tend to manifest themselves in family companies.That in and of itself lends to the mystique of this book.
The above review was contributed by: Gary Dale Cearley: Gary Dale is an expatriate American who chooses to write about controversial material. His subject matter tends to run the gamut from historical subjects to biography and even humor. Originally from Arkansas, he has spent several years in Korea as well as Vietnam and is now living in Thailand. Click Here to read an interview with Gary. Click Here to read Gary's reviews.
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