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Family Business on the Couch: A Psychological Perspective

Family Business on the Couch: A Psychological Perspective

4.0 1
by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Randel S. Carlock, Elizabeth Florent-Treacy

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The challenge faced by family businesses and their stakeholders, is to recognise the issues that they face, understand how to develop strategies to address them and more importantly, to create narratives, or family stories that explain the emotional dimension of the issues to the family. The most intractable family business issues are not the business problems the


The challenge faced by family businesses and their stakeholders, is to recognise the issues that they face, understand how to develop strategies to address them and more importantly, to create narratives, or family stories that explain the emotional dimension of the issues to the family. The most intractable family business issues are not the business problems the organisation faces, but the emotional issues that compound them. Applying psychodynamic concepts will help to explain behaviour and will enable the family to prepare for life cycle transitions and other issues that may arise.

Here is a new understanding and a broader perspective on the human dynamics of family firms with two complementary frameworks, psychodynamic and family systematic, to help make sense of family-run organisations. Although this book includes a conceptual section, it is first and foremost a practical book about the real world issues faced by business families.

The book begins by demonstrating that many years of achievement through generations can be destroyed by the next, if the family fails to address the psychological issues they face. By exploring cases from famous and less well known family businesses across the world, the authors discuss entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial family and the lifecycles of the individual and the organisation. They go on to show how companies going through change and transition can avoid the pitfalls that endanger both family and company. The authors then apply tools that will help family businesses in transition and offer their analyses and conclusions.

Readers should draw their own conclusions from careful examination of the cases, identifying the problems or dilemmas faced and the options for improved business performance and family relationships. They should ask what they might have done in the given situation and what new insight into individual or family behaviour each case offers. The goal is to avoid a bitter ending.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“…explores the reasons why some family businesses are dysfunctional – and how to cure them.” (The Guardian, Saturday 15th September 2007)

"fascinating new book" (The Independent, Tuesday 9th October 2007)

"a unique insight into the subject." (Guardian Unlimited guardian.co.uk, Thursday 13th December)

"You'll find this book well worth reading" (Edge, February 2008)

"...an insight into addressing key family buisness issues." (Gulf Buisness, February 2008)

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Meet the Author

MANFRED F.R. KETS DE VRIES brings a unique perspective to the much-studied subjects of leadership and the dynamics of individual and organizational change. He is a clinical professor of leadership development and holds the Raoul de Vitry d’Avaucourt Chair of Leadership Development at INSEAD, France&Singapore. He is also the Director of INSEAD’s Global Leadership Center. He has held professorships at McGill University, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, and the Harvard Business School, and he has lectured at management institutions around the world. He is a founding member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations. The Financial Times, Le Capital, Wirtschaftswoche, and The Economist have rated Manfred Kets de Vries among the world’s top fifty thinkers on management and among the world’s most influential people in human resource management.

He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 24 books and over 250 scientific papers as chapters in books and as articles. His books and articles have been translated into more than 25 languages. He was also the first non-American recipient of the International Leadership Award for “his contributions to the classroom and the board room.”

Kets de Vries is a consultant on organizational design/transformation and strategic human resource management to leading US, Canadian, European, African, Australian and Asian companies. As an educator and consultant he has worked in more than forty countries.

DR. RANDEL S. CARLOCK is the first Berghmans Lhoist Chaired Professor in Entrepreneurial Leadership, the founding Director of the Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise and a founding board member of the Global Leadership Centre at INSEAD. Previously he was the first Opus Professor of Family Enterprise and founder of the family business center at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN (USA). Carlock has an MA in education and training (1976), an MBA in strategic management (1983), and a Ph.D. (1991), all from the University of Minnesota. His doctoral dissertation explored the role of organization development in managing high growth entrepreneurial firms. He has also completed a post graduate certification in family and marriage therapy at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, University of London (1998) and a certificate in psychodynamic counseling at Birkbeck College, University of London (1999). He was awarded a Certificate in Family Business Advising with Fellow Status (2001) by The Family Firm Institute, Boston, MA (USA).

He is the author of several books, articles, book chapters, videos and case studies. He has over 25 years of experience serving as an executive with a global family business and as CEO and chairman of his own NASDAQ listed corporation. He currently advises global business families and corporations around the world specializing in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

ELIZABETH FLORENT-TREACY, Research Project Manager at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore, She works in the INSEAD Global Leadership Centre, and the Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise. She has conducted research in the following areas: global leadership; global organizations; corporate culture in European and global organizations; American, French and Russian business practices; family business issues (governance, succession, strategy); entrepreneurial leadership; cross-cultural management; women and global leadership; cultural aspects of mergers and acquisitions; transformational leadership; expatriate executives and families; and the psychodynamics of leadership. She holds degrees in Sociology (BA) and Organization Development (MA).

Elizabeth has written authored or co-authored 4 books, 21 articles, working papers and book chapters and 18 case studies on leadership and family business topics.

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Family Business on the Couch: A Psychological Perspective 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
James Michener begins his novel ¿Hawaii¿ with the splitting of a cell. This trio of psychologists doesn¿t go that far, but the authors do lay an extensive framework for applying psychoanalytic psychology, systems analysis and family therapy to the family business arena. getAbstract thinks that this serious text may be more of a resource for therapists, counselors and consultants than reading material for people who take only a casual interest in family businesses or who are looking for a quick fix. Authors Manfred Kets de Vries and Randel Carlock, writing with Elizabeth Florent-Treacy, delve deeply into the human dynamics that affect family-run companies, including the psychology of the individuals involved, the characteristics of entrepreneurs and the business family-paradigm. They look closely at human and organizational life cycles, and study how emotional volatility intensifies in times of transition. The authors make generous use of case studies, diagrams and models, and demonstrate how they¿ve applied their methodology to advise troubled family businesses.