The impact of the family and the business on family business sustainability

Patricia D. Olson, Virginia S. Zuiker, Sharon M. Danes, Kathryn Stafford, Ramona K.Z. Heck, Karen A. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

406 Scopus citations


The purpose was to identify strategies for families to utilize to increase the success of both their business and their family based on analysis of data in the 1997 National Family Business Survey (1997 NFBS). Both the family system and the responses to disruptions had significant effects on gross revenue and owner's perceived success. Reducing family tension, living in a two- or three-generation family, reallocating time from sleep to the business and hiring temporary help during hectic periods increased business revenue. Owners who perceived their businesses as more successful slept less and hired temporary help during hectic periods in the business more than owners who perceived their businesses as less successful. Business assets, age of the business, personnel management, owner's weekly hours in the business, family employees and hiring temporary help were positively associated with increased achievements for both the business and the family. The family had a greater effect on the business than the business had on the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-666
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study reports results from the Cooperative Regional Research Project, NE-167R, “Family Businesses: Interaction in Work and Family Spheres,” partially supported by the Cooperative States Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Experiment Stations at University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Illinois, Purdue University (Indiana), Iowa State University, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Montana State University, University of Nebraska, Cornell University (New York), Baruch College (New York), North Dakota State University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University, Utah State University, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (for University of Manitoba).

Copyright 2004 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.


  • 1997 National Family Business Survey
  • Family business success
  • Family business sustainability
  • Family integrity
  • Objective business success
  • Subjective family business success
  • Sustainable family business model


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