How do conflicts impact change in family businesses? The family system and familiness as a catalytic converter of change

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to develop an understanding of how conflicts, caused by the specifics of family businesses – the familiness – impact change in family businesses. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis is based on 21 semi-structured in-depth interviews of German family business members. The authors followed the grounded theory approach. Findings: This study gives evidence for family business-specific conflicts and family business-specific change and outlines how conflict impacts change. Findings show that a family system works like a recursive catalytic converter in family businesses. Research limitations/implications: This paper offers researchers a broader understanding and a comprehensive view of change in the family business. Although still limited by its exploratory approach, its insights can be valuable for researchers, practitioners and policy makers. The findings offer an operational base for future quantitative studies. Originality/value: Using the new system theories approach the authors develop an understanding of how conflicts impact change in family businesses. The study explains how conflicts are managed in family business practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1198-1212
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017