Family Business

Interaction between the junior and senior generations in a family business


2 min




Watch Professor John Davis of Harvard Business School talk about the importance of reinforcing partnering between the junior and senior generations in a family business. In a family business, it is important to familiarize the rising generation with the business early on, so that they can take on responsibilities sooner. Family businesses should also recognize that they can benefit from the younger generation, who are more informed on emerging technology trends.




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You need, in a management group and in a family business, more interaction and more partnering going on between senior and junior generations now then you did before. We don’t force the next generation to step up to real responsibility until much too late in they are, until they are too old. And then we complain about the fact that they are not able to participate enough, they do not have the right attitudes. And that’s partly because the parenting that goes on just does not expect enough of them.

Junior generation members are kept in a too dependent position for too long in most of the families that I know. They are kept financially dependent by their parents, they are kept out of the information loop too long. They are not invited into important discussions, and there is a lot for them too learn. They do ... View More not, I am not saying that they should be decision makers really early but they have a lot to learn.

There are opportunities and compelling reasons for partnering between the senior and junior generation, not just within the family but within a management team. The two things that the junior generation has a clear advantage on are technology and market trends. They are much more aware of both, much more comfortable with both. So that is a trend here that, I think argues for more accelerated development and more accelerated participation of junior generation family members, in executive teams.