To sell or not to sell?

The financial and socio-emotional dilemma of the ownership decision.

Written on 11 January 2018.


Dr. Fabian Bernhard has been actively involved in the EDHEC Family Business Centre through his research contributions on major family business topics. His latest case (co-written with Dr. Labaki) addresses a passionate topic on a financial, hence socio-emotional dilemma of ownership decisions.

Dr. Fabian Bernhard is an Associate Professor of Management and a member of the Family Business Centre at EDHEC Business School. His current topics of interest revolve around the intersection of organizational behavior, organizational psychology, emotional dynamics in family businesses, moral emotions (such as shame and guilt), the education and preparation of next generational family business leaders, as well as all kinds of attachment to the family business, such as psychological ownership, commitment and social identity, and their influence on the decision-making process in family businesses.

Interview with Professor Fabian Bernhard

Fabian Bernhard has been actively involved in the EDHEC Family Business Centre through his research contributions on major family business topics. His latest case (co-written with Dr. Labaki) addresses a passionate topic on a financial, hence socio-emotional dilemma of ownership decisions. We had the chance to ask him a couple of questions about it. 

What is the exact name of the case study?
To sell or not to sell? The financial and socio-emotional dilemma of the ownership decision in the family business. 

Why did you choose this case and what is its purpose? 
The case illustrates the process and challenges of ownership decision-making in a multigenerational family business where family and business logics collide. It is designed to help recognize the role of identity, emotions and conflicting interests in shaping family business decisions. 

Whether we like it or not, emotions play an essential part in our decision making, especially in family businesses, emotions can influence business behavior. 

What are the main learnings of the case?
The case aims to teach and practice the following skills:
Reflecting issues and challenges associated with making an ownership decision in a family business.

  • Understanding the different logics underlying family and business systems.
  • Recognizing the influence of emotional dynamics in decision making processes.
  • Including the role of family governance in analyzing family businesses

In which way do collective emotions in families, such as feelings of guilt, influence their business decision making? Interestingly, it appears that even negative emotions in the family can create positive outcomes for the business practices.
 

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