Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Abstract Details

SMALL FAMILY BUSINESS SURVIVAL:STRATEGIES FOR COPING WITH OVERLAPPING FAMILY AND BUSINESS DEMANDS
Vol. Volume 14 Number 3 September/2009

Linda S. Niehm
NANCY J. MILLER
MACK C. SHELLEY, II
MARGARET A. FITZGERALD


This study identified 14 adjustment strategies employed by household and business managers to cope with overlapping work and family demands using data from 1997 and 2000 versions of the National Family Business Survey (NFBS). Significant differences were found between surviving small family firms by managerial role (single or dual) regarding gross income, gender, number of children under age 18, community size and trade sector. Both surviving and non-surviving enterprises tended to bring household work to the business field when times were hectic and demanding, and took care of family responsibilities while at the business. However, in non-surviving businesses, business managers reported a greater tendency to bring work home, demonstrating that work entered the family field more frequently than in surviving businesses. Managers of surviving businesses were more likely to make financial adjustments by hiring temporary help for the business or home, and less likely to ask others to help in the business without pay. Significant differences were also noted regarding the use of non-financial adjustments; managers of surviving family businesses were able to shift away from business work to spend time on family aspects, and to spend less time sleeping to help the business.



Keywords: Adjustment strategies, family business, field theory, managerial roles, survival.