Term Paper: Risk Management in Family Owned

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[. . .] The business suffers a lot if there is a clash between family members and no documents could be produced to solve it. In order for a family-owned business to run smoothly, it is exceedingly important to have all business agreements in black and white including the "buying and selling of shares, etc., salaries and retirement age, dividend policies, limitations on sale of stock, lines of authority, liability of stockholders or partners, job descriptions" ("Challenges in Managing,") etc.

Compensation Problems for Family Members

A family-owned business may also be at risk if the salaries, bonuses, benefits and reimbursements for uninvolved family members are not plainly described and defended. One of the examples could be a situation when business owners feel that giving their children equal remuneration is just and reasonable. In such a situation, siblings who perform more and have more responsibilities in the business but are given the same amount of salaries that is given to the siblings who have fewer responsibilities are usually offended by such a policy ("Challenges in Managing,").

The best approach to handle salaries is to match them to industry guidelines. After determining the standard salary ranges for different jobs and using them as a guide, both family and nonfamily workers could be paid accordingly. Fringe benefits can also be useful in establishing equity among family members. Family members may be calmed down remarkably by offering delayed profit-sharing plans, retirement fund plans, insurance programs and stock purchase programs. Such a policy could also facilitate the family members to build their personal assets ("Challenges in Managing,").

However, as far as the stock ownership for the purpose of risk management is concerned, it should only be limited to direct descendants and not to any in-laws, third parties etc.

Role Uncertainty

The clear definition of roles and responsibilities in a family-owned business is indispensable to avoid any conflicts, issues and risks. There is a probability for the occurrence of conflicts when roles assumed in the family system interfere on roles in the business system or when the pattern of communication and correspondence used in the family system are used in the business system. Sometimes, a problem or issue in the family interests may hamper the business system and vice versa. Parent and child, siblings or spouses may experience clashes when roles assumed in the business system arbitrate the family system. If a husband and wife work as boss and employee at office, it most likely will not be suitable for them as at-home roles. Then again, a role a member has in the family may not work well for him/her in the business (Bowman-Upton, 1991).

Lack of Aptitude and Talent

A family-owned business could also be at risk if unqualified, unskilled and incompetent family members are hired. The real trouble starts when it does not seem possible to fire them even after their inability to work becomes apparent. The emotional pressure is one of the factors why many businesses have to hire relatives who do not have the aptitude or exploitable talent or skill for carrying out the business functions. In such a situation, the best approach for the business owner is to try to cultivate a talent in the unskilled relative so that he/she could contribute to the business. This could be done by provision of special training. he/she could be assigned special projects that could offer him/her an opportunity for the development of required skills. A nonfamily supervisor could be assigned the duty of monitoring of such a relative so that he/she could be transformed into a productive employee ("Challenges in Managing,").

High Turnover of Non-Family Members

Non-family workforces are found to increasingly leave the family-owned businesses when they notice that the family "mafia" will never allow them to progress and grow professionally. Sometimes, the incompetency of management also makes non-family employees resign from their posts (Iwan, 2006). Thus, the high turnover among top nonfamily employees is not an uncommon challenge to family-owned firms. A number of relatives show antipathy towards outside talent and even make things disagreeable and repulsive for nonfamily management ("Challenges in Managing,").

Succession Planning

It is one of the most difficult decisions a business owner seeking retirement will have to make is to find out who will take over the company that has been his/her life's work (Snyder, 2008).

A majority of family organizations lack a plan for handing over the power to the subsequent generation and this absence of succession planning ultimately leads to great political disagreements and partitions (Iwan, 2006). Management succession inside a family can be a good thing from the perspective of all concerned. However, at the same time, it is undoubtedly the most complicated matter most family-owned/family-managed companies face. Sometimes, parents refuse to commit to a succession plan that always signifies that they do not have the intention of stepping down. This is probably because the business characterizes their identity and sense of self-esteem that they cannot even hand it over to their offspring. In some cases, perhaps the offspring are not trustworthy. Whatever the reason, when the older generation is not successful in committing to particular succession planning, the business could be at a risk of declining (Scott, 2002).

If a business founder is not capable enough to develop a succession plan, he/she can bring experts into the process to do so (Scarborough, 2011, p.693).

Paternalistic Mode of Management

A family-owned business may also be at risk because of the centralization of control. Frequently, good management practices that are the requirement of running a business in today's contemporary era are ignored and not employed. Instead, the management is influenced by tradition (Iwan, 2006).

Overly Conservative

The conservative and old-fashioned elderly family members try to protect the status quo and refuse to accept any changes in the family business. In particular, they resist any contemporary and new-fangled ideas and changes that their younger generation proposes. The older family members in the business are found to have a more conservative stance towards the company's economic structure and propensity to select high risk projects (Iwan, 2006).

Communication Problems

As both family and business systems intermingle, the communication problems arise aggravated by role uncertainty, emotions (jealousy, trepidation, resentment) and political divisions or other problems. A number of families place individual concerns before business concerns instead of balancing the two systems (Bowman-Upton, 1991). Making family communication is one of the top risk management strategies devised by the researchers ("Making Family Communication," 2011, p.1). Family business meetings and family council meetings are the main components of an efficient and successful business communication strategy ("Making Family Communication," 2011, p.3).

Lack of Business Valuation Knowledge

As most people hired in a family business are relatives, it is a probability that many of them would lack business skills and ultimately have no knowledge of the significance and value of the business and the factors that make it precious or lessen its worth. This is, thus, apparent that such circumstances make the smooth functioning of the business risky and challenging (Iwan, 2006).

Maintenance of Staff

It is also a difficult task to control the hired members of the family as many of them take the tasks easily and lack participation in the day-to-day jobs. With the improvement in the economy, it becomes a critical issue for family businesses to make certain that they can magnetize and keep hold of competent staff. As the market has picked up over the last few years, the businesses are facing solid competition in the struggle to pull talented people towards them ("Family Owners Are Cautiously," 2010, p. 32).

Family Business and Corporate Business: A Contrast

If family and non-family businesses are contrasted culturally, it is easy to notice that "the corporate cultures of family enterprise are more developed than the cultures of firms without a family affiliation" (Stoica & Pistrui, 2006). Moreover, the competence improvement in family businesses is higher as compared to corporate businesses due to considerably larger investment in the progress of its employees. Many family firms, however, are generally dictatorial, nonflexible, unclear in direction, and opposing to empower its employees. There are more chances of conflict in a family business than in a corporate business because of the original role inconsistency when family members work together (Stoica & Pistrui, 2006).

The family business and non-family businesses also differ because in a family-owned business, "the controlling family's influence, interests, and values have overriding importance" (Sharma, Christmas & Chua, 1997). The family business has a policy of unrestricted acceptance. Members of the family are accepted and hired into the company as they are. On the other hand, corporate businesses are based on restricted acceptance and the employees are hired according to a certain criteria. Moreover, families are extensively cooperative and therefore have a similar attitude towards businesses whereas corporate businesses are more competitive. In addition, family-owned businesses operate by emotions while corporate businesses operate logically. Family members tend to be equal so they adopt the same approach in business whereas in corporate businesses,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Risk Management in Family Owned.  (2012, August 15).  Retrieved June 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/risk-management-family-owned/5071323

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"Risk Management in Family Owned."  Essaytown.com.  August 15, 2012.  Accessed June 25, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/risk-management-family-owned/5071323.