CHAPTER 16Reflections on the Economic and Social Future of Family Enterprise

After reading a research report, the reader frequently steps back and asks, “So what?” The stories are interesting, and the commonalities are clearly drawn, but the reader, who may not own such an advanced enterprise or who advises mostly G1 and G2 families, may wonder what really can be done with the results.

I believe this project has great import to other families who want to develop and sustain their family enterprise and that it has much to offer these families' advisors. These stories also have something to say to nonfamily businesses, which also struggle to create alignment, serve social values, and adapt to continual change. This chapter shares some of these implications and also presents a review that any business family can take to heart.

Global Context for the Future

This project began with a recognition that global family enterprise is a core social building block for civil society. In an impersonal world, the family enterprise is based on human relationships and values translated to fit the world of commerce, adding necessary humanity to the sterile landscape of the business world. Enduring family enterprises add strength, consistency, caring, and sustained productivity to the economies of every nation. Because of this, their experiences contribute a valuable alternative model to public, nonfamily enterprises.

The research documents the many contributions of these families beyond commercial ...

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