I have good personal experience of several widely different family-run businesses. I have found that organizational culture is prone to be influenced by the owner’s family culture, attitudes, values, and worldview. It is fascinating to see it play out in interesting ways.
India is a large country. Cultural traits in one part of the country may be quite different from the cultural traits of another part of the country. For example, the family culture in Rajasthan is likely to be different from the family culture in Tamil Nadu.
Around the world, there are distinct national and regional cultures that greatly influence people's practices. Such differences are more pronounced when the firm is family-run.
When owner family professionals are active in their business, their family culture gets projected in the organizational culture, consciously or unconsciously. This phenomenon has its pros and cons. When a business family is visionary, it weeds out the dysfunctional aspects of this phenomenon in the organizational culture. If not, the business family must bring outside advisors to guide them, for the business to reach its full potential.
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Spain is a high-touch nation compared to the USA. A high-touch Spanish family business is likely to emphasize relationships and loyalty more than objective business data for performance evaluation. The opposite is likely to be the case with an American family business.
In some business families, the habit of reading or interest in art or science is low. This is likely to create a weak appreciation of learning & development in the culture of their organizations.
Some business families have a tradition of giving importance to academic excellence or/and excellence in art, music, literature, sports, etc. This is likely to create a strong appreciation of learning & development in the culture of their organizations.
Many business families are deeply religious. These family-managed companies witness religious activities on campus in the form of symbols of worship, idols, or religious celebrations. In their business, religious rituals and astrology may play important roles. In some family-managed organizations, religious activities are discouraged.
You may find several old-timers close to the owner's family who have similar ethnic or demographic affiliation as the owner's family. Such non-family employees, irrespective of seniority, professional qualifications, or performance, wield informal leverage. The organization structure does not fully reflect the power dynamics in the organization.
In a high-touch country, a family business meeting may not start on time. A non-family professional may have to learn to live with that.
For non-family professionals, converging from diverse personal family backgrounds into a family-run firm, there is a need to adjust, accommodate, learn and unlearn. HR in a family-run organization must sensitize them about this during hiring and onboarding.
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