The purpose of this case is to introduce students to the psychodynamic perspective on family owned or influenced businesses. The events that led to schisms in the family and the sale of the company are dramatic and well documented. We approach the case as allegorical, in a sense, challenging students to deconstruct critical family and business events, and analyze the way Gucci family members reacted and interacted. The objective is for students to identify the logical reasons behind the seemingly irrational behavior of various family members, and finally, to understand that every family business is a potentially a Gucci, in terms of potential for fantastic success or dramatic collapse.
This approach allows us to apply several concepts taken from family systemic and psychodynamic theory, and to introduce the genogram, a useful tool for identifying types of relationships in the family, and how they may affect the business. The case should lead to discussion around the following themes: - An overview of the psychodynamic approach to studying family business - Boundaries, dyads and triangles in the family and business - The influence of family myths - A consideration of cultural context