Family Business Magazine Blog

A recent article in The Practitioner -- an online publication of the Family Firm Institute, an organization for professionals who advise and study family enterprises -- pointed out the difference between "firm survival over time" (continuity of a family business through the years) and "longevity of a family enterprise" (a family's ability to create wealth and value over generations).

The Practitioner article -- by Pramodita Sharma, the Sanders Professor for Family Business at the University of Vermont's School of Business Administration and a visiting scholar at Babson College -- argued that family enterprise success can be defined in ways other than leadership transfer from one generation to the next. "Both the creative destruction of firms and pruning of the enterprising family are integral parts of longevity of an enterprising family ....," Sharma wrote. "Recent reviews of the research on succession, governance, professionalization and performance all point in the same direction -- that one size does not fit all and the overarching numbers of ‘success' are insufficient to capture the complexity and heterogeneity of family enterprises and their pathways to success."

Family Business Magazine's cover subjects for May/June 2014, the Power family, sold J.D. Power and Associates to McGraw-Hill in 2005....Read more

Free Feature Article

Lodge Manufacturing, known for its cookware, has been producing cast iron for more than 120 years.

It’s fair to say Lodge Manufacturing has kept the small town of South Pittsburg, Tenn., going since 1896, the year Joseph Lodge opened his first foundry. The company, known for its cast iron products, is one of America’s oldest continually operating makers of cookware.

The Lodge family has established a humble and deeply dedicated presence in Marion County, Tenn., participating in civic life and keeping generations of local families employed. In a town with about 3,100 residents, the company has 400 workers. In the last two years alone, Lodge has invested in a $90 million expansion that has added hundreds of jobs within 2 miles of its headquarters.

The oldest fourth-generation member is 78-year-old Carolyn Millhiser (née Kellermann — Millhiser’s grandfather, Charles Kellermann, married Edith Lodge), who calls herself “the historian by default.” Millhiser says her family didn’t talk about their company or wealth around town or in school. She says her mother, Lynda King Kellermann, instilled in her children the value of serving the community quietly.

“We were just folks!” Millhiser says. “I remember going to the poorhouse...Read more

Feature Video

Taking Stock explores all the questions, relationships and emotions universal among family businesses, as well as themes — guilt, survival and apartheid — unique to a prosperous Jewish merchant family in South Africa.

Read our Q&A with family member/filmmaker, Ben Stillerman.

Watch the trailer for Taking Stock.