Family business-owning couples: An EFT view into their unique conflict culture

Sharon M. Danes, Erin A. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


This study expands the understanding of business-related tensions within business-owning couples through an interdisciplinary literature review, through a longitudinal data analysis, and through application of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to a case study. Business-owning husbands and wives in this study reported that conflicts related to work/family life balance and unfair distribution of resources (money, time, energy) between family and business systems create the greatest tensions. Low family functionality, wives' role dissatisfaction, transfer of resources from family to business, and husbands' identification of wives as major decision makers were all predictors of wives' higher tension levels. Husbands reported increased tension when wives worked more hours in the business. Three elements of EFT are applied to a family business couple.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-260
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper reports results from the Cooperative Regional Research Project, NE-167 ‘‘Family Business Viability in Economically Vulnerable Communities,’’ partially supported by the Cooperative States Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES); U.S. Department of Agriculture; the experiment stations at the University of Arkansas, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Illinois, Purdue University (Indiana), Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, Montana State University, University of Nebraska, Cornell University (New York), North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, University of Rhode Island, Utah State University, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (for the University of Manitoba).


  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
  • business-owning couples
  • couple conflict
  • family business conflict
  • family businesses


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