Mixing family dynamics and ownership of shared assets is a potent combination. Working together, families have produced some of the world’s greatest business success stories. Others have generated headlines of a very different kind, finding themselves in conflicts that have destroyed assets, relationships, or both. This course is about why those tragic outcomes occur, as well as how they can be mitigated and – ideally – prevented. It’s also about the dangers of avoiding conflict, which can bring down a family enterprise just as disastrously as excessive fighting. These conflicts could be about a family business, a family office, a foundation, or a shared family property. Or all of the above.
In this course, students will explore where conflict comes from in family enterprises, and how it differs from non-family ones. We will also talk about why too little conflict can be as much of a problem as too much. Conflict is a “goldilocks problem,” and family enterprises need to figure out how to get it just right. A major focus will be on crises: what causes them, how to get out of them, and how to avoid them.
Students who complete the course will gain both a conceptual understanding of conflict as well as learn practical tools for how to deal with it. It will be useful for students whose families have any kind of shared assets, or for those who are interested in investing, advising, or just better understanding how to manage conflict within family enterprises. It will also be relevant for students who own, work in, invest in, or advise enterprises that are often “family-like”, such as partnerships and start-ups.
Adjunct Associate Professor
Josh Baron is a co-founder and Partner at BanyanGlobal. For the last decade, he has worked closely with families who own assets together, such as operating companies, family foundations, and family offices. He helps these families to define their purpose as owners and to establish the structures, strategies, and skills they need to accomplish their goals. During his career, Josh has worked with clients...