Clash of the offspring

Siblings in business bring a lifetime of relationship baggage. Rivalry is often deeply ingrained and it has to be tackled head on in an open forum.

In family businesses, psychologists say that sibling rivalry – something that goes back to the time of Cain and Abel and was elaborated on by Sigmund Freud – derives from the struggle to gain attention and affection from parents in childhood. It remains a classic area of conflict for families and can destroy a business.

Sibling rivalry creates issues for family business owners. Which child does the parent give the voting shares to? Who is named CEO? If the children do not have the same commitment to the business, should they be given equal shares or equal salaries?



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