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

Though more opportunities for women in family firms have opened since the 1980s, it’s still rare for a woman to be named to a top business leadership role.

When Charlotte Lamp was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, no female family members worked in her family’s business, Port Blakely. The company, which is based in the Pacific Northwest and has been owned by the Eddy family since 1903, owns and manages working forests and markets renewable forest products.

Lamp’s brothers had summer jobs at Port Blakely, but “I was not allowed to, because I was a girl,” she says. In college, Lamp was a biology major and chemistry minor with a number of elective courses in field biology areas, but still she was barred from working in the forests. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, some of her female cousins also wished they could work in the company.

Lamp, a third-generation shareholder, says the opposition to women’s participation began with her grandfather, one of the first Eddy family members to lead the business. He believed “women at the table were to be seen and not heard,” Lamp’s mother told her. The second-generation CEO perpetuated that culture.

It wasn’t until after third-generation member Jim Warjone became CEO in the 1980s that attitudes toward women’s participation began to soften. By the 1990s, the company had a female...Read more

Feature Video


Todd Immell, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP discusses robotics processing automation operating models for family offices. Final installment in a 4-part series.