An emotional ownership perspective on the dynamics of role conflicts and relationship conflicts within family businesses

by Stefanie Hoeness

Institution: Jönköping University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Emotional ownership; Role conflict; Relationship conflict; Social Sciences; Economics and Business; Business Administration; Samhällsvetenskap; Ekonomi och näringsliv; Företagsekonomi
Record ID: 1328360
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-26871


<strong>Problem: </strong>Family-owned and –managed businesses constitute the majority of organizations worldwide. Yet, although, because of their  special enmeshment of family and business spheres, conflicts constitute a central threat to those types of organizations, not much has been done to study this phenomenon specifically in a family business context. Minding the actuality that especially the family related factors that contribute to the occurrence of role and relationship conflicts within family firms remain understudied, this thesis will take an emotional ownership perspective to examine the phenomenon from a different angle.<strong></strong> <strong>Purpose: </strong>To advance the general understanding of role and relationship conflicts within a family business setting, the purpose of this thesis is to determine the role emotional ownership plays in regard to role and relationship conflicts within family firms . <strong>Method: </strong>This qualitative study utilizes a case study strategy including a total of six case companies and eight research respondents. Data is thereby collected from semi-structured interviews and documentary secondary data. The analysis of the empirical findings is conducted following a two-step process. First, the empirical findings of the distinct case companies are cross-analyzed. Then the emerging patterns are formulated into a general model. <strong>Conclusions: </strong>Family owners’/employees’ feelings of emotional ownership towards the firm do influence the occurrence/intensity of role and subsequent relationship conflicts within family firms. The exact nature and impact of this influence will however depend on a number of factors. Those factors include (i) the existence of rules and regulations to govern the separation of family- and work related roles within the family and the firm, (ii) family-related factors, like the existence of a “peacemaker” and/or “decider”, strong family cohesion and/or trust among the family and its members, as well as (iii) cultural factors such as “respect for the elders”.