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Selected Case

published: 19 May 2009

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Hotel
  • Region: North America

Abstract:
The case describes the story of three generations of a business family, who owned and managed a beautiful resort. The family story includes traumatic events like: early deaths; suicide; and remarriages and the lack of communication on succession issues. Succession took place in abrupt ways, through death of owner-managers, or threat to sell by their widows. Case (A) describes the history of the family and the business until 1996, when the second generation widow confronts the children with her determination to sell the business. Case (B), to be used after case discussion, explains what happened afterwards.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case was written primarily to illustrate the concept of fair process in key family business circumstances, ie ownership succession and leadership succession. While the mother wanted to sell, the children called for a meeting and family discussion before taking the decision. They ultimately took the decision to sell, but thanks to a better process obtained a much higher price, and preserved family relationships. The case also illustrates family dynamics, relationships between stepchildren and stepmother, repetition from first to second generation, and the sale of the family business.

Keywords:
Family Business, Succession, Communication, Fair Process, Sale of Family Business, Remarriage, Step-Parent, Family Dynamics, Genogram, Wicfe, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards, Succession, Next Generation, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender

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