Considered the most authoritative work on family business, Generation to Generation offers readers a holistic understanding of the complexities of family-owned businesses, and how to manage their unique challenges. It is conceptually rich and brimming with pragmatic recommendations from the authors alongside stories of family businesses around the world. A comprehensive range of topics are presented, including family dynamics and emotions, competing interests, work relationships, governance, ownership, management, succession, traditions and change, and many more.

Based on decades of research and consulting with hundreds of family businesses around the world, the authors—who are among the earliest experts in the family business field—present original developmental models of the evolution of family companies. The Three-Circle Model (Tagiuri and Davis) is applied as a useful analytical tool to explain the success factors and vulnerabilities of family companies. In addition, frameworks for understanding family work relationships, succession, ownership, and businesses are used.

The authors weave together practical recommendations for the survival of family companies with stories of particular family businesses worldwide. Their lessons illustrate how family businesses often work and how to professionalize them, how family companies should be organized, how issues such as succession should be managed, the role consultants can play in facilitating transitions in family companies, and other essential topics.

Generation to Generation is widely considered the most profound contribution to the study and understanding of family businesses. It is a touchstone for all family members and non-family employees who are involved in family businesses and for the non-family professionals who serve them.

A seminal book about a topic usually neglected—the family-owned business—is what makes Generation to Generation so important and vital. Bringing their rich experiences to bear, along with powerful analytic heft, the authors have written what has become, a classic.”

–  Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California,
widely recognized as the father of the field of Leadership

Available in Hardcover and Kindle.

Harvard Business School Press, 1997


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The authors have zeroed in on the distinctive culture, the unique strengths, and the complexities and challenges of the family controlled business. In practice, this model will help those who run, consult with, or work for family businesses.

–  Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Comcast Corporation


John A. Davis, Chairman, and Founder, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group; Senior Lecturer, Family Enterprise Programs, MIT Sloan School of Management

The Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise is a global research and education organization dedicated to positioning family enterprises to be successful over generations. CIFE offers transformative workshops and programs, in open and private settings. Its research agenda and publications explore the key drivers of family enterprise success. cfeg.com

Kelin E Gersick, Co-Founder and Senior Partner of Lansberg, Gersick & Associates; Professor Emeritus of Organizational Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology

Kelin’s consulting work focuses on the impact of family relationships – marriage, parenting, siblings, and cousins, and multiple generations — on governance and continuity in family businesses, family foundations, and family offices. Kelin holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Yale University.

Marion McCollom Hampton
Marion McCollom Hampton, co-founder and Senior Partner at BanyanGlobal.

Dr. Marion McCollom Hampton has been active in the family business field for 25 years, and has been named a Fellow in the Family Firm Institute. She is co-author of a foundational work in the family business field, Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business (with Kelin Gersick, John Davis, and Ivan Lansberg, Harvard Business School Press, 1997).

Ivan Lansberg
Ivan Lansberg, Adjunct Professor of Family Enterprise; Academic Director for Family Enterprise Executive Education Programs

Ivan was a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management for seven years, and a Research Fellow at Yale’s Institute for Social and Policy Studies. Prior to his affiliation with Yale, Ivan taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. The son of an entrepreneur, he has personally experienced many of the issues associated with family business ownership.



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