Leadership and leadership development issues in family businesses.
Mayet, Zahier Ahmed.
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This dissertation examines leadership and leadership development issues in family businesses. The data was collected during late 2003 through qualitative surveys and interviews with family businesses in South Africa. Research findings indicate family business leaders place high importance on selection and development of the next generation leader. The ability and desire ofthe next generation to lead the business is of concern to family business leaders as is the senior generation's ability to let go during transition. Non-family employees are valued as contributors to business success. Gaining the respect of employees is valued as an important aspect of next generation leadership development. Leadership development across generations in family businesses also occurs by the example and values of previous generations. Leadership development involves entering the business at a young age, learning to work hard, acquiring formal education, gaining independent work experience, and engaging in continuing education. Family business leadership needs for education and research include working with family and business dynamics, education in functional business areas, models for effective leadership transitions, forums for peer interaction, and tools for dealing with ownership and estate transitions. Stories told and retold in family businesses reflect sacrifice, fmancial and legal crisis, and disasters. The leadership lessons of theses stories center on hard work, persistence, vision and values, and recognition that the family business is about more than money. Conclusions include that leadership development in family businesses occurs through a synthesis of example from previous generation(s), work experience, and the process of earning employee respect. Recommendations are made for future research on (a) the role of example in family business leadership development, and (b) how stories play a role in passing on values to succeeding generations in family business.