The article examines the contributions family-owned businesses make to the community.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Why do family owned businesses outperform large publicly traded corporations?

New terminology:

Meritocracy, share-price return, benchmark, tenure

Materials needed:

Copies of the article

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores the phenomenon of family-owned businesses, especially large ones that have been in existence for many generations.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Have students download  a polling app onto their phone: Kahoot is a free one available for all mobile devices.
  • Using the polling software, set up the following questions to ask students:
    • Do you know any family owned businesses?  Yes or No
    • What percentage of the World’s companies are family owned —  30%, 50%, 70% or 90%?  (ans. 90%)
    • In North America, how many family owned businesses have revenues of over one billion dollars —  10%, 33%, 57% or 84% (ans. 33%)
  • Discuss the polling results with the class.
  • Ask the class what is meant by a family-owned business.
  • Before distributing the article for reading, have students work in small groups to discuss the contributions family-owned businesses make to the community.
  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • The article states that, as a group, family owned businesses deliver superior returns. Use flip chart paper and have students answer:
  • What does this statement mean?  What is the impact of this on the employees? The customers? The family? The community?

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Family-owned businesses are said to be successful because they are focused on the long term.  What does this mean?  Why does this focus contribute to their success?
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the long term view taken by family-owned businesses and why this is a competitive advantage.

Confirming Activity:

  • In pairs, have students contact a family-owned business in their community and interview them, focusing on the long term and where they see their business in the next generation.  Have each pair write a case study about this family-owned business.   In another class, have students swap their case studies and ask questions of each other to learn more.