In a country where each government declares itself family-oriented, the theme of family entre- preneurship is definitely underestimated. Family businesses are treated as all other enterprises in the micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises sector (MSME). This is a mistake, as the models of organisation development, concepts of values or patterns of structural organisation which function in that sector do not prove correct in the context of a family business. Family enterprises develop in parallel with the family and are cemented by values and bonds incomparably stronger than companies or corporations where employees are only bound by business relationships. Therefore, attempts to “repair” a family enterprise so as to make it more “professional” and fitted to the known economic models most often end either in the effects of training or consulting being negated by company members, or in launching a cycle of not very effective transformations.
When working with family businesses it is essential to understand that the dynamics of development of such a company is different than in an “ordinary” enterprise. In every enterprise quarrels break out, crises continue, diverse working styles and views on development clash, but where family relationships strongly influence the situation in the enterprise, all that may have other causes and consequences, not predicted in the traditional business development models. Being man and wife is not the same as being an associate. The divorce of a couple who manage an enterprise established together may prove much more painful for its employees than the division of a non-family company. Managers of family businesses may wait 20-30 years for a successor to grow up and forgo investors for year so as not to take away the opportunities for their own children. The goals of a family business may therefore be different and more complex, which means that their development is governed by mechanisms different than in non-family enterprises.
This study, “A Methodology for the Support of Family Businesses”, is a result of experience gained during the implementation of this pioneering project. The methodology was created thanks to the cooperation and commitment of a team of authors, consultants and trainers. Before we started to work with the participants of our undertaking, we had made assumptions concerning the pro- gramme and the objectives we wanted to reach. However, throughout the educational sessions we remained open to suggestions both from those who implemented the project and also – or perhaps in the first place – from participants themselves. Every family business and its every rep- resentative were partners for us, and often even co-authors of subsequent concepts and assump- tions. This kind of cooperation contributed to the success of the project, as demonstrated by the reflections of participants presented in a separate part of this publication.
I. The family business in modern economy
II. A Methodology for the Support of Family Businesses
III. Description of the implemented programme of support for family businesses