Three-Circle Model celebrates 40 years

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The Three-Circle Model of the Family Business System was developed at Harvard Business School by Renato Tagiuri and John Davis in 1978.

It quickly became, and continues to be, the central organizing framework for understanding family business systems, used by families, consultants and academics worldwide.

This framework clarifies, in simple terms, the three interdependent and overlapping groups that comprise the family business system: family, business and ownership. As a result of this overlap, there are seven interest groups present, each with its own legitimate perspectives, goals and dynamics. The long-term success of family business systems depends on the functioning and mutual support of each of these groups.

READ THE ARTICLE:

How Three Circles Changed the Way We Understand Family Business

Professor Renato Taguiri and doctural student, John Davis, had no idea that they were inventing a game-changer. In 1978 at Harvard Business School, they sought to explain the dynamics, roles, issues, and tensions in family business sytems. The Three-Circle Model, just as relevant today, remains the dominant paradigm used worldwide for understanding and analyzing family business systems. READ MORE


Professor John Davis remembers, “There was so little written on family business in the 1970s. We needed a convenient framework to be able to organize our thinking about how these systems work.”

THREE-CIRCLE MODEL
OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS SYSTEM

TAGIURI AND DAVIS, 1982

The Three-Circle Model of the Family Business System was developed by Renato Tagiuri and John Davis at Harvard Business School, and was circulated in working papers starting in 1978. It was first published in Davis’ doctoral dissertation, The Influence of Life Stages on Father-Son Work Relationships in Family Companies, in 1982. In 1996, the Family Business Review published it in Taguiri and Davis’ classic article, “Bivalent Attributes of the Family Firm.”

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A Tribute to Renato Tagiuri, my Mentor and Friend

By John A. Davis

It is challenging to adequately summarize, let alone fairly describe, the work of Professor Renato Tagiuri. His intellectual contributions are enormous, span six decades, cover many topics and add to at least three academic disciplines. And his writing and contribution are ongoing, with more intellectual and practical gems still to be appreciated.

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Additional Concepts by John Davis

Family Enterprise

Family Enterprise

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Family Wealth Paths

Family Wealth Paths

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Stages of Development of the Family Business

Ownership Stages

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Family Sustainability Framework

Family Sustainability
Framework

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