Conflict in the Family Business

Kent Rhodes

According to experts in field of conflict management, conflict is “a process that begins when an individual or group perceives differences and opposition between itself and another individual or group about interests and resources, beliefs, values or practices that matter to them”[1]. The bottom line is that true conflicts in family businesses tend to be processes rather than one-time events. Typically owners and managers tackle smaller challenges, managing them effectively in real time. But when one-time events, whether in the family or the business are ignored, they can become chronic, stack up over time, and potentially become a crises point for both the family and the business. This is particularly true when those events are rooted in common, long-playing family dynamics – sometimes across generations. Families that learn to effectively manage these kinds of conflicts do so to specifically maintain relationships in ways that benefit of both extended family and the business. 

For mor information on conflict in the family business join our webinar program on Wednesday September 21, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
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[1] De Dreu, Harinck, & Van Vianen, (1999). Conflict and performance in groups and organizations. In Cooper & Robertson (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Vol 14, pp. 369-414). Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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