The Boss Who Walked Away: Role Transitions in Families and Businesses - Simulation Guide

Published 26 Feb 2009
Reference 5585
Region Global

A family business is turned upside down by the decision of its owner-manager to 'walk away' . This simulation is based on an interview with a 49-year-old man who abruptly sold the family business without warning either his employees or his family. He told his wife what he'd done and put his mother in a retirement home. He informed his two children and nephew, who worked in the business, that they could stay with the new owners but would have to make it on their own. This interview was completed shortly before Steve was to close the sale but before the long-term consequences of his actions are fully known.

Teaching objectives

This case explores family business role transitions and the competing commitments of family and business systems. It demonstartes the importance of Fair Process and effective communication in a family business, and the need to establish a structure that encourages family participation in planning and decision-making. It also deals with next generation careers and issues of unplanned succession.

  • Family business roles
  • competing commitments
  • family business transitions
  • fair process
  • communication in family business
  • next generation careers
  • Q21516
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Governance for Family Firms
  • Succession, next generation
  • Governance, parallel planning, strategy, boards