Dialogue Among all Stakeholders on Different Contexts and Cultural Settings
The Conference is an excitingly unique forum created for the world’s best minds to come and converse for a better tomorrow. The extraordinary opportunity for creating something profound and path-breaking, something that can have global ramifications, presents itself. The three different stakeholders are Academicians, consultants, and business families. The best academicians, consultants in the family business domain, and business families across the world will come and converge to have a “Conversation”. The conversation will take place on the topics such as the best practices on succession and handing over, the role of women in the family business, the impact of the family council, constitutions, family trust, family offices, and family wealth and maximization.
Coming together from different stakeholders and having conversations can produce the possibility of an “AND”. In ‘AND” the distinct features of the stakeholders that come together are maintained; in some ways, the features ‘add on’ and this addition is more powerful than each of the stakeholders being on its own. This kind of an ‘AND’ has its own place, and this needs to be acknowledged and respected.
When different stakeholders come together, they can also produce something far beyond the ‘AND’ as above; this happens through fusion, not through addition. ‘Fusion’ means union – something that is made into one by a combination of many. Our methodology for the fusion is conversation. Fusion is about merging diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole. In fusion, oneness is created; the ‘one’ that is created has features that are completely different from the added features of the individual entities. Consider different metals fusing to create an alloy as an example of this phenomenon of fusion. Consider the probably more enlivening example of the sperm and ovum fusing to create a new human being. Fusion is also about the release of enormous energy: while the individual entities that fuse have their own individual energies, the energy that results from fusion is enormously more powerful than the power of the ‘added’ energies. Thus, fusion brings about creation, oneness, newness, and enormous energy.
Formally, the field of Family Business is considered to have been born and developed in the USA, Japan, and Europe. It has developed a variety of features over time. There is a rich body of knowledge and wisdom on family-managed firms derived from years of thinking and practice. A vast number of scholars and practitioners have been involved in the iterative process of thinking and doing to contribute to growing and developing Family Business as a unique field. These people have blended various topics and variables to make the field richer. One can see traces of fusion happening here.
Alongside, Asia has diverse and enormous wisdom that is relevant for family business thought and practice. Unfortunately, these essentials, cultural differences, and wisdom are not much documented, unlike in the western world. The conference also gives a way for the west and east to fusion themselves and have conversations on various possibilities of collaboration and learning.
Let us look at fusion in another area – music. Fusion music is a result of the fusion of different genres of music. Exhilaration and enchantment of fusion music are enhanced when the performing artists have deep expertise in their respective genres; have a deep understanding, appreciation, and respect for the other genre; and are humble to fuse with one another. Artists of these qualities are committed to creating something new thereby enriching the whole realm of music significantly.
At the 2023 Family Business Conference, we invite and request family business academicians and practitioners to bring forth these qualities along with the business families and those are the ultimate beneficiaries. Just imagine what kind of results we can produce when those who are having these qualities engage in committed conversations to make a difference to Family Businesses and thus economy and humanity!
Conversations that can make this possibility real can be on, but not restricted to:
Conference Model on Conversation
The theme of the Conference centers on theory and practice, what is established and what is to be advocated or recommended. Thus, it is based on two axes: ‘knowledge – practice’ and ‘is – ought to be”. On the one hand, knowledge of Family Business is continually developed, and new practices are introduced. On the other hand, they are continually appraised as to their capacity to explain phenomena and yield the desired results.
The knowledge developed and the practices followed as such in corporate management mark the status of Family Business Management. Certain areas of Family Business knowledge have been played out and others that stood the test of time are carried forward. So also, in the case of practices, some have been rejected and others continue to serve their purpose. The knowledge found valid, and practices found reliable continue to thrive.
While best practices are identified and continued to be advocated, and domains of knowledge continue to yield insights, new or hitherto unearthed practices and new or hitherto unshared domains of knowledge are to be brought to light. A reconstitution of the best practices and valid knowledge is wanted along with new ones. And that will constitute the ‘ought to be” axis.
To make the conference model serve its purpose the design of the conference is also carefully drafted. The design purports the dialogue among the important stakeholders, Academicians, Business Families, and Consultants. There will be enough sessions from all the stakeholders and using the Large-Scale Interactive processes (LSIP) techniques, the learning of each day will be captured and documented. Each day a keynote session will raise pertinent questions and set the base for dialogues, debates, and discussions, followed by concurrent sessions. The concurrent sessions are designed to give enough space for all three stakeholders. As an outcome of the conference, a conference proceeding in a book form is also envisaged.
Having given the conference model for creating a conversation among the stakeholders of Family Business a question raises on what theme the stakeholders debate and agree. The theme of the conference revolves around the triple bottom-line issues, namely, people, profit, and the planet. Obviously, Family businesses have a direct impact and revolve around people for their development; working on organizational effectiveness to increase profits; and lastly, the issues affecting our planet. Therefore, the theme of the conference will be people development, profit enhancement, and sustainable development practices.
Day one of the conference will deal with “Knowledge” aspects by the academicians, day two would deal with “Best Practices” by family business consultants; the third day will focus on “Family Business – Corporate Management” by business families, on Family Wealth and Sustainable organization for generations, wealth-creation, and distribution.