Emotional Issues Challenge Family Businesses in Mideast

ABU DHABI — Emotional issues which compound organisational problems are the most difficult challenges faced by family businesses in the Middle East, according to authors of a new book published by INSEAD.

By Staff Report

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Published: Sun 9 Aug 2009, 10:13 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 9:32 PM

In a new book, “Family Business on the Couch: A Psychological Perspective,” INSEAD professors, Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Randel Carlock and researcher, Elizabeth Florent-Treacy, deftly take their insightful analysis, drawn from decades of experience with families, and weave it into real-world case studies of family businesses that have succeeded and failed.

Kets de Vries, Carlock and Florent-Treacy are widely recognised as the leading authorities on family business, having worked extensively with family business owners in Europe, the US and Asia.

“We offer two complementary frameworks to help make sense of family-run organisations,” they write.

As the title “Family Business on the Couch” implies, the authors believe that the challenge is to apply psychodynamic and family systematic perspectives to the very human problems families face in business, says a Press release issued by INSEAD.

“Family businesses operating in the region also possess similar dynamics to those owned and run in other parts of the world. Running a family business can often be far more complex and problematic than running a public company and there are global learnings that can address the very human problems families face in business across the world, including the Middle East,” said Carlock.

Available in English and Arabic, the book is both a vivid must-read for anyone in business and an extremely practical guide for families in business and those who work with family enterprises.

Across the world, 60 to 95 per cent of businesses are owned or controlled by families, yet only three in ten survive into a second generation and only one in ten is handed down to a third generation.

The authors demonstrate a strong understanding of the dynamics and the broad implications of this on the families and the businesses. These business issues cannot be ignored, they argue: “Government policy makers, economists and academics now recognise that entrepreneurial and family enterprises — the oldest form of commercial organisations — are a prime source of wealth creation and employment in both developed and emerging economies.”

Coming from three of the most respected and widely published experts in the field, this book goes beyond the usual clichés to examine the root causes of common problems and to offer sound advice. “Family Business on the Couch” will help families “avoid the pitfalls that endanger both family and company.”


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