To many, the phrase “family business” connotes a small or midsized company with a local focus and a familiar set of problems, such as squabbles over succession. While plenty of mom-and-pop firms certainly fit that description, it doesn’t reflect the powerful role that family-controlled enterprises play in the world economy. Not only do they include sprawling corporations such as Walmart, Samsung, Tata Group, and Porsche, but they account for more than 30% of all companies with sales in excess of $1 billion, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s analysis.
Conventional wisdom holds that the unique ownership structure of family businesses gives them a long-term orientation that traditional public firms often lack. But beyond that, little is known about exactly what makes family businesses different. Some studies suggest that, on average, they outperform other businesses over the long term—but other studies prove the opposite.
To settle that question, we and Sophie Mignon, an associate researcher at the Center for Management and Economic Research at École Polytechnique, compiled a list of 149 publicly traded, family-controlled businesses with revenues of more than $1 billion. They were based in the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Mexico. In each business a family owned a significant percentage, though not necessarily a majority, of the stock, and family members were actively involved both on the board and in management. We then created a comparison group of companies from the same countries and sectors, which were similar in size but not family controlled. (We didn’t look at Asian companies because so many of them are family controlled that it’s difficult to find a suitable comparison group.) Then we did a rigorous analysis of the ways in which those two sets of companies were managed differently and how that affected performance.
Our results show that during good economic times, family-run companies don’t earn as much money as companies with a more dispersed ownership structure. But when the economy slumps, family firms far outshine their peers. And when we looked across business cycles from 1997 to 2009, we found that the average long-term financial performance was higher for family businesses than for nonfamily businesses in every country we examined.
Rasalkhaimah, ras, al, khaimah, dubai, university, salford, manchester, @hishamsafadi, hisham, safadi, European, medical, center, business, entrepreneur, startup, economy, money, motivation, education, Leadership, Transactional, analysis, emotional, intelligence, organisations, development, innovative, technology, care, health, investor, investment, production, shark, tank, sharktank, USA, UK, London, group, european, canada, india, china, japan, KSA, projectmanagement, datascience, bigdata, IOT, internetofthings, cloud