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The tetralemma of the business family: A systemic approach to business-family dilemmas in research and practice

Heiko Kleve (Universität Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany)
Steffen Roth (La Rochelle Business School, La Rochelle, France)
Tobias Köllner (Universität Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany)
Ralf Wetzel (Vlerick Business School, Ghent, Belgium)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 18 March 2020

Issue publication date: 22 April 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This conceptual article aims to contribute to the design of a theory of family-influenced firms by a framework for the management of business-family dilemmas.

Design/methodology/approach

It combines systemic principles with the tetralemma, a tool from ancient Indian logic that families and businesses can use to manage and reframe dilemmas without dissolving the dilemmatic tensions or blurring their boundaries.

Findings

In applying the tetralemma, the article offers a range of suggestions, such as observing business and family as two discrete, yet codependent, social systems and envisioning conceptual and methodological imports from codependency research and therapy into family business research and practice.

Originality/value

The article proposes a framework for the selective and flexible navigation of family-business tensions without dissolving them or blurring their boundaries.

Keywords

Citation

Kleve, H., Roth, S., Köllner, T. and Wetzel, R. (2020), "The tetralemma of the business family: A systemic approach to business-family dilemmas in research and practice", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 433-446. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-08-2019-0254

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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