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16,000 Years of Family Business: The Leadership Model of the Hénokiens

Published 27 May 2019
Reference 6503
Region Global
Length 35 page(s)
Language English

This is a collection of 40 profiles of long-lived family firms representing all but eight members of the Hénokiens, a French association whose 48 members have survived for more than two centuries. Of the 40 members featured in this collection, the oldest is a hostel in Japan named Hoshi Ryokan, which has been in business for 1,300 years and has been operated by same family for 46 generations. The family business narrative is based on five analytical pillars: family assets, roadblocks, succession planning, professionalization, and adaption and innovation. Instructors can take a single profile of a member firm and use it to illustrate one or more of the five themes. The note highlights the key people and events that have marked economic history over the centuries, making for a fascinating read as well as offering an alternative business model of leadership and longevity.

Teaching objectives

i) To evaluate the role of such families in building multi-generational businesses. ii) To understand the assets that such families contribute to their firms, the various obstacles faced over the centuries and different ways that they have overcome them. iii) To learn about family succession and the dangers and opportunities presented by an ever-growing number of family members. iv) Why family firms bring in professionals to run them. v) The role of innovative leaders and entrepreneurs in family businesses.

  • Hénokiens
  • family business
  • family assets
  • family roadblocks
  • family succession
  • family innovation
  • multigeneration
  • next generation
  • strategy and general management