Business Family Constitution: An Overview

Business Family Constitution: An Overview

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Publication Date:
December 01, 2019

Lahore University of Management Sciences

What makes some family businesses a raving success while others a painful failure? The key to success lies in recognising the fact that the interests of the businesses can diverge from the family. Hence, family businesses need a family strategic plan – the equivalent of a strategic business plan in corporate enterprises – to accommodate the added family variable to the business-ownership mix, which often results in additional challenges. A pivotal step to holistically address these challenges is to develop a family business constitution – a document that illustrates a strategic plan for the business family. Family constitutions provide a starting point for business families to overcome various challenges faced by family firms and to pursue wealth preservation and long-term business growth via good governance. This note explores the concept of the business family constitution, what a family constitution is and its significance in the dynamic environment surrounding family firms and its components. Next, it addresses why businesses need to develop a constitution and how forming and implementing a family constitution can enhance the governance of the family firm and consequently increase its chances of survival and growth in the coming generations. It proceeds to deal with the question of when to ideally start the constitution-writing process. It explains where to initiate its development process to achieve optimal results. Lastly, it discusses how to go about the processes involved in its formulation and construction. In doing so, we use various examples from business families to discuss the 4W (what, when, why, where) and 1h (how) of a family constitution.

Copyright © 2020 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

Business Family Constitution: An Overview

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