The presence of conflict in an organization, whether it is a family or business, can have positive or negative impacts depending on the level and degree of severity. Research has found that conflict only becomes disruptive when members have incompatible values that are critical to the relationship (Busby 1984). An important predictor of disruptive conflict is how tolerant the family is to conflict on a daily basis and how open to communication the family is (Danes and Lee 2004). This study used data from 612 small and medium-sized farm family businesses in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio) going through the succession process. Farms were identified using MarketMaker and surveyed to collect data on owner demographics, business organization, succession, management strategies, business success, and family tensions. The study also included a relatively small number of nonfarm family businesses. This study analyzed factors that affect the quality conflict in a family business setting in the context of families in various stages of succession planning. A conflict index with both negative and positive aspects was constructed and the influence of factors on the quality of conflict and on role satisfaction among family members was investigated. By doing this we could investigate the influence of a wider range of factors on perceived conflict during the succession planning process. This presentation summarizes selected results of this study. This information should be useful in assisting family farm business owners who would like to improve the quality of their interpersonal interactions. Co-authors of this presentation are Maria Marshall and Tia McDonald.
|Conference||2013 National Farm Management Conference|