editing disabled

Entitlement refers to a sense of being “owed” such benefits as: wealth; employment; and status without having to work to achieve these benefits. Some children who grow up in a successful family business can be inclined to a feeling of entitlement.

Characteristics of a sense of entitlement

Family members who display a sense of entitlement often do not contribute as positively to the business. Entitlement can lead to family members who do not display the work ethic or exhibit the commitment of other employees. Family members who have a sense of entitlement often expect non-family employees to "live to work" -- while family member employees take lots of time off. A sense of entitlement can also lead to a family member managing in an autocratic style -- feeling that they can do whatever they want in the business and yet non-family employees need to do exactly as they are told (Johnson).

Impact on the business

The business may suffer because the entitled family member does not bring as much to the business as they take away or because non-family employees view the entitled family member with less respect. The more effort that the family members exert to prove their worth the more successful the business will be.

Lessening a sense of entitlement

To remove the sense of entitlement the next generation should earn all the positions and promotions that they receive. The next generation should realize that working for the family business is not a gift, but that it needs to be earned. One great way to remove a sense of entitlement is to create a family charter which clearly outlines how and when a family member will progress within the business. This document outlines things such as the necessary education, outside experience needed before being hired, the hiring process and how they will progress through the business once hired. The family charter may also include a family code of conduct. The next generation needs to realize that their way into and through the business is earned and is not a birthright (Johnson).


Further reading and external links

Article contributors

Andrew R. Wood

This article is a stub. You can help Family Business Wiki by expanding it.

Categories: Family members in the business