An exploratory study of family business wellness
Wohlfahrt, André Ernst Mathys
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Family businesses are rapidly becoming the dominant form of business enterprise in both developing and developed economies. Family businesses are also being recognised as a potential driver of economic growth and wealth creation in the world. Family businesses in particular, have been making a positive contribution towards the South African economy for the last 300 years. Approximately 80% of businesses in South Africa could be classified as family businesses and they comprise 60% of the companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Family business wellness, which often forms the underlying causes for a lack of family harmony, is, however, a neglected area of research. The primary objective of this study is to explore selected determinants of family business wellness in small and medium-sized family-owned businesses in South Africa and to make recommendations to ensure effective management of these determinants in the family business. Topics such as the characteristics of the job, work stress and burnout, job engagement, family member commitment, the perceived success of the family business, among others, was investigated. In order to achieve the primary objective of this study, a survey was undertaken using a structured questionnaire. The reliability of the questionnaire was determined by calculating the Cronbach alpha coefficient, which indicated that the questionnaire used in this study conformed to the criteria of acceptable reliability and can be regarded as internally consistent. The survey yielded 45 usable questionnaires from 17 family businesses restricted to Gauteng and the North-West provinces in South Africa. Because this study was exploratory in nature, descriptive statistics was then used to analyse the statements that captured the information to measure the selected determinants of family wellness. The correlations between the variables were assessed using Pearson’s correlation coefficients and the relationships between the variables assessing family wellness were used for the discussion and conclusion points. Practical recommendations are suggested to improve family business wellness and, subsequently, increase the sustainability of such business.
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