Dr. Marshall Northington's Managing the Family Business

conflict resolution in a family owned business

When close relatives work together, emotions can often cloud business decisions. All too often, business discussions continue at home and into the evening. This can cause undue stress on the entire family unit. Without clear boundaries, separating the business and the marriage, there can be unhealthy consequences to the marriage. More often than anyone would like to admit, alcohol and other substances are a problem in the workplace. While family members wish to be tolerant of problems with other family members, company employees are quite interested in how the family will approach and resolve their problems. Recognizing the need for outside assistance often comes only after the marriage is in trouble, the adult children estranged and the business dissolved as the principals go their separate ways.

Marshall W. Northington, Ph.D., delayed plans to begin his career as a counseling psychologist when, in 1980, he returned to Tucson to manage his family's construction-related business. His father had died suddenly, with no clear succession plans. In 1989, after his family business was sold, Dr. Northington founded Northington Ph.D. to assist individuals with career planning and life changes. Soon after, he developed Family Business Solutions as a major division of his practice.

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