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Family business expert challenges Barclays survey results

A UK family business expert has called into question findings from a Barclays survey that claims to shed light on relatives' relationships in a family business.

A UK family business expert has called into question findings from a Barclays survey that claims to shed light on relatives' relationships in a family business.

The study, Second Generation Family SMEs in the UK, asked 2,003 members of the British public whether they would hire a family member when setting up a business.

According to the study, 23% of the British public would prefer to work with siblings, followed by fathers at 9% and mothers at 7%.

John Tucker, a family business consultant with thirty years experience, however, does not believe the sample and findings are representative of those working in family businesses.

“The complexity of family relationships when a family is in business together is challenging and often unfathomable and asking 2000 members of the public, I assume at random, gives us very little to work with.”

Tucker said that those surveyed were unlikely to have any “real idea” of what it is like to be in business with a family member and that the questions asked were lacking in substance.

“Certainly siblings do end up in business together, but it is usually when they have joined the parent or parents in the business and eventually take over the business,” Tucker said. “Setting up together as siblings is unusual, but not out of the question.”

Tucker has spent three decades working with family businesses to better understand family dynamics. He was a senior lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire and founded the International Centre for Families in Business. He also developed the UK’s first MBA for family business.


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