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Family Business and Social Capital

Edited by Ritch L. Sorenson

The chapters in this cutting edge book comprise scholarly work on social capital in family business along with chapters written by family business owners and advisors. Topics covered include social capital as it relates to governance, trust, family and business identity, communication, family councils, work–family balance, and the use of advisors and continuing education to build social capital. Novel in its approach of integrating the voices of scholars, business families, and advisors, this book is useful not only for business research and classroom use, but also for business families and their advisors.
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Chapter 5: An early warning system for family conflict

Katherine Hayes


Through five generations my family enterprise has benefitted from the creativity, education, and experience of its family members. These many talents and capabilities have enabled us to succeed through several major transitions. However, until recently a growing lack of trust caused family members to withdraw their capabilities as they consumed their energies in avoidance of conflict due to a growing dispute. This lack of trust threatened to destroy the multi-generational enterprise. While at work one day, I received a personal phone call from a high school classmate, who had previously sent me some threatening letters from jail, asking me to help him get a loan. I was afraid and ended the call quickly. I immediately told the CEO, and she helped me to take appropriate protective action for my immediate family and me. Important to note is that even though our family enterprise is governed by the entire family, I am the only family member employed by the business.

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