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From domestic to transgenerational contexts: the distinctiveness of family business organisational forms Denise Fletcher.
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“At the beginning I was completely immersed in the entire venture, and I loved the thrill of it. It was brilliant watching all the jobs coming in and trying to get staff organised. It was amazing and I loved it. Very quickly though it became really hard because all that success needed minute organising and administrating otherwise we would go under. Then it became a love hate relationship for me. I loved the tenders, and the quotes and the clients and the jobs and the projects. At the start it was very much just that- an extension of my personality. It was fun, colourful (naive) creative, exciting, caring. When we realised that we would go bankrupt if we didn’t change the perspective, it became an extension of its own personality and we have to keep giving in to its demands. It’s not creative or fun now; its capitalist. It’s all about the money”.
Informal arrangements – voluntary and emotional contributions that are allocated to entrepreneurial endeavours
In co- preneurship the couple share a commitment to and responsibility for the business venture in terms of risk, ownership and management and enact this in their life together.
There is emotion work, risk taking, life making and ‘market work’ characterised by the alignment of creative interests, knowledge, labour or skills with one’s spouse which are assessed as having commodity or market value and which lead to the creation (or repositioning) of an organizational entity.
(Fletcher, forthcoming ISBJ)
Figure 2: The role of couples and families in business venturing (Adapted from Litz, 1995)
Management roles undertaken by.......
In a discussion on transgenerational wealth in family Habbershon & Pistrui argue to focus on the family as the unit of analysis (the enterprising family) and the need to track the transgenerational spread of wealth.
Jeremy Clarkson – ‘Who do you think you are? Great, great, great, great grandson of
Tracked family history - Kilner jar (Huddersfield).
Very successful and innovative company – creating many patents for glass bottles; employing thousands of workers, setting up many factories.
Jeremy Clarkson’s research into his family tree revealed ancestors who were at the heart of the industrial revolution. The Kilner family had established several glassworks across the north of England during the nineteenth century, when business boomed and vast fortunes were amassed; indeed, the Kilner name became associated with the production of a particular type of storage jar, with the brand-name still in use today.
Unfortunately for Jeremy, the family fortunes were lost in the early twentieth century, partly through changes to the glass bottle manufacturing industry when more effective mechanisation was introduced from America, and partly because the family business passed into less capable hands – a fact demonstrated by the vastly reduced sums of money left in successive generations of Kilner wills.
The impact of the Kilner’s Providence Glassworks in Conisbrough, the town where Jeremy’s great-great grandparents Caleb and Eleanor Kilner lived, was considerable. Not only were the glassworks the main source of employment – as demonstrated by census returns throughout the nineteenth century – but the Kilner family helped to finance the local Methodist minister, acting as trustees for the land on which the chapel was built. Even a bridge in the town bears the Kilner name. The changes made to Conisbrough by the industrial activity of the Kilners can be traced at The National Archives in two major land surveys, the Tithe Apportionments of the mid-nineteenth century and the 1910 Valuation Office survey. and skill
Raising finance, assuring collateral, employing new members of staff, engaging family members, government regulations; ultimate responsibility for the business; propping up business from personal money; manage risks on daily basis.
The need to manage public/private identities and intra/inter-firm relationships
Wider institutional issues shaping organisational forms
The travelling, translation and movement of ideas, innovations or inventions across national borders;
Changing consumption patterns, industry norms etc
The transformative effects on regions/communities/localities etc.
Life making in evidence –income generation, family demands, keeping family members in employment, career change, bereavements, parents retiring, labour market issues, income for the household.
Commercialisation of intimate life
For the good of the entrepreneurial endeavour.
Making sacrifices - covering of emotions, resentment, not getting paid, the time the business takes from the children/family/personal time/effects on personal relationships – divorce); loneliness; emotional responsibility
Are shaped by social worlds, friendships, network practices industry norms, associations, wider institutional practices
Boundaries as ‘the physical, temporal, emotional, cognitive and/or relational limits that define entities as separate from one another’ (Ashforth et al. 2000:474)
How boundary-spanning/crossing/segmentation or integration is important for: the functional work of the organisation:
such as marketing Kellog et al. 2006);
the identity/meaning work of the individual;
In progressing from domestic to trans-generational situations, is there a point at which the question of ‘who is the ‘family’ in the family business’ is the wrong question to ask?
This term was introduced by Kanter (1977) ‘to distinguish occupational pursuits that not only demand the maximum commitment of the worker and define the context for family life, but which also implicate other family members in the work system’ (p.87).
Occupational contexts that activate an organisational demand on partners (political roles, small towns, total institutions (i.e. care homes or boarding schools), in times of controversy - and in entrepreneurial climates.
This is all just getting too much. The metaphor I have for how I feel on days like that is like being in a black hole with everything falling in on top of me and I am just small at the bottom of the hole watching these things come in. I knew things were going to be hard but did I really think they would be this hard? I feel…. because of my desire to help him to get things right. He is also trying to prove so much to himself that he can do it. He wants to be a successful business man. I want him to realise his aspirations but his business requirements impinge so much on our family life that I find it exhausting and what he wants for himself becomes my responsibility also. The incessant presence of the business is wearing me out and I like to put things into slots – I think through what needs to be done, then I break it up and allocate the jobs to slots. But you can’t do this when you are running a business, you can’t plan or organise yourself, so you have to change and adapt.