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Nov/Dec 2012

Family business culture continuity via storytelling

By David Adelman, William Alexander

In a 1988 article in Family Business Review, W. Gibb Dyer Jr. wrote: “The culture of the family firm plays an important role in determining the success of the business beyond the first generation.” Dyer stated that culture is a bundle of interconnected traits that begin with basic assumptions, usually instilled in the company by its founder. These assumptions establish a foundation for the company’s values, which are defined as the guiding rules for all situations employees face. These values ultimately lead to artifacts that serve as the physical evidence of the assumptions and values.

For example, consider a founder who …

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