Ludo Van der Heyden
Emeritus Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Emeritus Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise
Adjunct Professor of Family Business
Family Business Network Research Honors 2006
WICFE; Fair process, communication, psychology, gender; Governance, parallel planning, strategy, boards;
This paper introduces procedural justice as a central notion for understanding the effectiveness of a family firm's decision making and planning processes. It posits that many of the common difficulties faced by family firms are rooted in a lack of fairness in the decision-making processes governing these business families and their associated firms.Conversely, improvements in fairness can be expected to improve the firm's performance as well as the commitment and satisfaction of those involved with the firm, whether as managers, owners, or family members.The authors present a development of Fair Process in family firms grounded in social science and business literature, and their qualitative research on family firms. Recognizing the wide variety of family firms, they propose five attributes which taken jointly aim to characterize Fair Process in family firm planning and decision-making.The paper's main argument is that the fundamental inequity of family systems, which are often influenced randomly by factors like birth order, gender, parenting styles, and so on, can be counterbalanced by the effective application of fair process.