Updating systems concepts in family businesses: A focus on values, resource flows, and adaptability


Entrepreneurship; Center for Family Business

Date of this version


Document Type



family, business, adaptation, values, development, resources, goals, Systems Theory


This article extends and expands current systems views of family business and provides a framework for interpreting family business holistically. The framework extends the definition of family-first and business-first systems and adds three categories that typify the gradations of firms that represent balanced systems emphases. In addition, this article discusses the goals, resource transfers, strengths, and limitations of each type of system and describes how firm adaptability and resource flows influence and change these family business systems; it argues that to understand family business health, one must understand the values and goals that guide the family, business, and ownership systems, as well as the overall family business system; and it presents an inclusive definition of family and business based on systems membership.

Published in

Family Business Review

Citation/Other Information

22 (1) 65-81