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Management article
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Reference no. ART-1868-E
Authors: Josep Tapies
Published by: IESE Business School
Published in: "IESE Insight", 2010

Abstract

Research contradicts two cliches regarding the size and longevity of family firms. An ambitious study of Spanish companies underscores that these businesses are neither as young nor as small as is often supposed. So, what are the secrets to their success? Do profitable, long-lasting businesses share a distinct set of values? Comparing the Spanish data with that of similar studies done in other countries, the author finds that family businesses do tend to attach greater importance to certain values over others. In particular, the author highlights values associated with integrity, which foster unity and respect; excellence, hard work, quality and profitability; entrepreneurial spirit; as well as transparency and social responsibility. To confirm the specific nature and influence of these values on the success of family firms, IESE''s Family-Owned Business Chair is in the process of conducting a new study, which will compare the top Fortune 500 companies with the leading companies as ranked by Family Business magazine. Significant differences have already been noted, although in both cases the top values are the same: integrity, respect and customer focus.

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Abstract

Research contradicts two cliches regarding the size and longevity of family firms. An ambitious study of Spanish companies underscores that these businesses are neither as young nor as small as is often supposed. So, what are the secrets to their success? Do profitable, long-lasting businesses share a distinct set of values? Comparing the Spanish data with that of similar studies done in other countries, the author finds that family businesses do tend to attach greater importance to certain values over others. In particular, the author highlights values associated with integrity, which foster unity and respect; excellence, hard work, quality and profitability; entrepreneurial spirit; as well as transparency and social responsibility. To confirm the specific nature and influence of these values on the success of family firms, IESE''s Family-Owned Business Chair is in the process of conducting a new study, which will compare the top Fortune 500 companies with the leading companies as ranked by Family Business magazine. Significant differences have already been noted, although in both cases the top values are the same: integrity, respect and customer focus.

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