The Future Family Enterprise program leads multigenerational families through a stimulating week-long conversation that produces clarity on the path ahead for each participating family and its enterprise. […]
Articles: John Davis' Insights
Over the course of four decades, John Davis has authored an extensive collection of published works on a wide range of topics. His groundbreaking work is widely cited in the academic literature and by journalists, and is used by members of family-owned businesses, academics, students, researchers, and consultants.
The articles below comprise a specially curated collection of John Davis’ favorite or most thought-provoking articles and interviews. These powerful works define many of his salient viewpoints on issues that matter to business leaders and enterprising families worldwide.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of John Davis’ work. A complete compilation of his books and articles, academic journal articles, case studies, worksheets, assessment tools, and multimedia tools can be found here.
Two-part series commemorating the 40th anniversary of the influential Three-Circle Model. FFI Fellows, Pramodita Sharma, and John Davis share their insightful conversation about the future of the model, research, and the field. […]
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary Three-Circle Model, FFI Practitioner shares two editions about the model. For the first edition, Pramodita Sharma interviews Johns Davis, about the inception and impact of the model on the field. […]
Dual-class stock listings, often favored by founders and families who take their companies public, have a bad rap with a number of stock markets, stock analysts and especially with institutional investors. […]
The pictures of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump participating in executive and ceremonial meetings with foreign leaders draw the ire of many. These images raise central questions about the legitimacy and utility of nepotism in the White House. […]
Perhaps the most challenging issue for China’s private businesses in the years ahead is how they deal with succession. Given the country’s brief 30 year experience with a market economy, China’s family businesses have yet to fully embrace succession. […]
Corporate governance can be difficult enough—but what happens when your board of directors is comprised of your cousins? Or when your CEO is your sister? Harvard Business School Professor John Davis discusses governance issues unique to the family-run business. […]
Campo Bom – O mineiro Alexandre Birman é um viciado em sapatos — os de salto agulha, de preferência. Enquanto executivos e empresários normais interrompem conversas para checar e-mails no telefone, Birman se distrai o tempo todo porque analisa os sapatos de cada mulher com quem cruza na rua, esbarra em eventos ou mesmo vê na televisão. […]
John A Davis, who has taught at Harvard for 20 years and owns a respected family business consultancy, is one of the best-known voices in the world of family business. We caught up with him and quizzed him about his latest thinking. What do you think are the biggest issues facing family businesses? […]
On important occasions, we gather for family portraits. If you were to take a picture of your family business today, what would it show? Family businesses represent the aspirations, achievements, and struggles of one or more generations of a family. We would see all those things in the portrait of the family business. […]
Optimism and pessimism are strong, stable traits that reflect our coping strategies. We live in an uncertain world. To cope with uncertainty, most people basically assume that things will either turn out well (the optimists) or turn out badly (the pessimists). So here’s a question to ponder: Is it better to have an optimist or a pessimist leading your family organization? […]
Negotiations between family members who own a business are different—different from negotiations between non-family members and also different from negotiations between family members who don’t have a business. This is because family relationships are distinctive kinds of relationships, and having a family business raises the stakes of—and often complicates—a family negotiation. […]
Having described the framework of family business governance and the governance of the business, John Davis discusses the most challenging of the family business governance topics—governance of the family itself. […]
In 1983, Rajesh Kohli dies intestate, without a will, at the age of 57. Rajesh and his wife, Shobita, created a strong middle-class family and invested most of their assets in educating their three sons, Ravi, Nitin and Arvind. It was to Nitin, the son with a head for business, that the father bestowed $50,000 shortly before his death, asking him to invest it on behalf of the family. […]
Watch Professor John Davis of Harvard Business School talk about challenges & trends facing business families. As new trends emerge in the market, it is essential for family business to be able to recognize these trends and be able to adapt to these changes. […]
In the world of family business, the entrepreneurs we celebrate are usually founders of companies. These clever, hardworking individuals identify a good business opportunity, scrape together some money and loyal employees, and start a company that takes off. The heirs of the founder and later generations of the family are supposed to take care of and grow the founder’s creation; […]
Although family-owned and managed firms are the predominant form of business organization in the world today, little systematic research exists on these companies. This paper builds upon insights found in the emerging literature on these enterprises and upon our own observations to provide a conceptual frame-work to better understand these complex organizations. […]
The grandfather is the founder. The father is a spendthrift. His son is a beggar. That saying pinpoints the problem that confronts family-owned companies when it is time choose a successor. Only 30% of all family-owned companies manage to reach the second generation of family rule. Barely 15% reach the third generation. […]
THE “Lucky Sperm Club”, as Warren Buffett likes to call it, is still going strong in the commanding heights of business. On opposite sides of the Atlantic, Ana Botín and Abigail Johnson have recently succeeded their fathers in filling two of the most powerful jobs in finance, as chairman of Banco Santander and chief executive of Fidelity Investments, respectively. […]
Families in business usually have a deep desire to see the family company prosper and survive into the next generation and to keep the family successful, united, and supportive of the family company. These are often “stretch” goals because not many family companies survive for generations, and because families seldom maintain unity, financial success, and supportiveness. […]